WIT Press

An eco-approach to modularity in urban living


Free (open access)


Volume 14 (2019), Issue 2



Page Range

83 - 90

Paper DOI



WIT Press


Ágnes Borsos, Jeno Balogh, Balázs Kokas & Bálint Bachmann


Today, half of the world’s population lives in cities, which could reach 75% by 2050. Expanding urban areas will increasingly impact the already strained natural habitats, thus, economically and ecologically advantageous housing solutions are needed. This paper presents the research on a sustainable urban residential building concept that addresses this need. To ensure affordability, prefabrication and mass production were adopted, resulting in a unique, non-monotonous structural concept that is adaptable to different living unit sizes and layouts. A modular system was developed consisting of a basic living unit, which defines interior spaces, furniture, and structures. The modules can be placed next to each other to satisfy the needs of people for various living spaces. by carefully choosing a module size, enough combinations can be created, and individual solutions can be prefabricated. This system can also be produced in a large-scale that too in an eco-friendly way by utilizing novel building materials. Cross-laminated timber and timber-concrete composites were found to be the ideal choices for the walls and the slabs, respectively, as both are easily prefabricated, thereby decreasing the ecological footprint of the project. In addition, the building’s vertical size is efficiently maximized to seven living levels, while still keeping it human-scale in an urban setting. This new modularity, as described, provides a sustainable answer to the challenge of expanding urban living.


Eco-friendly building, Modularity, Prefabrication, Urban living.