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arup partners with start-up in modular construction drive.

Tech start-up WoHo is aiming to make offsite construction greener and more affordable. The group of architects, engineers and designers from a Georgia Tech and MIT background are based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and have already raised US$4.5m (£3.4m) in seed capital for pilot projects in the US.

A multidisciplinary team from Arup, the independent London-based firm of designers, planners, engineers, architects, consultants and technical specialists, is currently working with WoHo to develop scalable and energy efficient solutions. The team of energy and environmental consultants will have a particular focus on structural, mechanical, electrical and public health engineering. The team will provide consultation services on a range of issues from building codes to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Sustainable development

Mark Walsh-Cooke, Arup principal and project director, said that his team was committed to sustainability and were proud to be collaborating with WoHo on housing projects that were both affordable and created a small carbon footprint.

The WoHo system aims to make modular construction more economical, sustainable and scalable. That in turn could help planners and developers around the world meet some of their most urgent challenges.

Worldwide projects

Arup are currently involved in a range of worldwide developments including modular high rise developments like the 32-story tower at 461 Dean Street in Brooklyn, and a modular bridge project in Germany. The first collaboration with WoHo is slated for Boston, USA in 2021 and should bring the project a step closer to revolutionising the modular construction industry.

WoHo's ambition is to create a single streamlined modular construction platform. This in turn supports the design, manufacture and construction of high-quality modular buildings with unparalleled efficiency and precision.

The WoHo system uses discrete and scalable foundational components that can then be used to span commercial and residential buildings including hotels, housing, dormitories and offices. Because the design and engineering behind each project is fully reusable, WoHo projects allow for a high degree of customisation as well as consistency and efficiency across each individual build.

Disrupting modular

In a statement WoHo CEO and cofounder Israel Ruiz acknowledged that modular had been around for decades, but had developed a poor reputation for low end housing using low end materials.

WoHo aims to disrupt multi-use and home buildings as developers and suppliers rise to the challenges of meeting sustainability and affordability in the current housing shortage quicker and more efficiently. The ultimate objective will be to radically improve construction and delivery times without sacrificing aesthetics or negatively impact on carbon emissions targets.

WoHo has enlisted the expertise of Arup's construction division to engineer this breakthrough. Arup has already achieved a reputation for designing innovative and technically robust modular buildings in the US with the success of the 19-story Citizen M Bowery tower in Manhattan, New York. 

WoHo are front loading the design and engineering process to deliver clear environmental and architectural benefits. By applying their knowledge and expertise to the path from factory to market they're engineering a sustainable and affordable solution to the housing shortage facilitated by their partnership with Arup.

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