Modular building is anything but new. Modular construction dates back to the early 20th century, gaining traction between World War I and World War II before taking off in the 1950s.
In the 21st century, modular is more sophisticated, but its core architectural principles remain. That said, a tip of the cap is due to a pair of modular projects of yore, both of which embody creativity, ambition and lasting vision.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1923 Millard House
Renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright chose modular construction when designing his 1923 Millard House in Pasadena, California. Wright used a unique concrete block building strategy to complete “La Miniatura” for $17,000. His goal was to reduce material costs without compromising aesthetics. We think he proved his point. The structure was recently put up for sale for nearly $4.5 million.
Palacio del Rio Hotel
San Antonio’s Hilton Palacio del Rio Hotel is an example of modular speed. It was built in 1968 in 202 working days by H.B. Zachry Company (now Zachry Construction Corporation), just in time for the opening of the neighboring Texas World Exposition.
With nearly 500 rooms, the 21-story hotel featured individually pre-cast and decorated modules that were manufactured offsite. The crane-placed modules measure 30’ x 13’ x 10’ and weigh approximately 35 tons each. Today, the hotel remains a vibrant part of San Antonio’s Riverwalk District, and a beautiful example of modular construction.