Date: Jan 28, 2021Time: 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM

HAAUS – Modular Construction: Has It’s Time Finally Come?

Thu, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM Zoom Webinar (Information to be sent to Registrants)
General PublicOther


The dream of high-quality, mass-produced affordable homes has been around since the 50’s. Despite successful projects, such as SOM’s 1943 Oak Ridge pre-fab development, the industry as a whole has not adopted off-site construction techniques at scale. The construction industry continues to take a project by project approach using in-situ techniques. While every other industry shows a secular trend of increased productivity, the construction industry stands alone with steadily declining efficiency over the last couple of decades. Large investments by industry players such as Katerra, and Google’s Sidewalk Labs as well the emergence of a number of innovative startups suggest a shift in an industry ripe for disruption. Modular constructions holds the promise of delivering cost and time savings, but also presents significant challenges to adoption. Our panel of thought-leaders and industry practitioners will discuss the structural changes in the industry that have fueled the adoption of modular construction and consider the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Why have efforts to industrialize construction failed in the past? Where does the industry stand today? What potential impact do technological advances or the high cost of housing have on the future of off-site construction? What impact will this have on the practice of Architecture? Has modular construction’s time finally come?



Craig Curtis


Craig is a nationally recognized design leader with a focus on innovative, sustainable integrated design and the incorporation of emerging building technologies including cross-laminated timber (CLT), mass timber and modular construction. With strong listening skills and a highly collaborative approach, he leads interdisciplinary teams on developer driven multifamily, workplace and mixed-use projects. Craig also serves in a firmwide role, sharing knowledge across the practice and collaborating with teams on a wide range of project typologies for clients looking to explore the integration of new building technologies.

Prior to joining the firm, Craig served as an executive-level leader at Katerra where he oversaw the development of building platforms for offsite construction and instigated the company’s significant investment into mass timber, including construction of North America’s largest CLT manufacturing plant. He has extensive experience with mass timber projects including development of the Katerra Mass Timber Commercial Office Platform, the Catalyst building (designed to ILFI zero energy and zero carbon certification standards), and student housing for UC Santa Cruz designed in collaboration with Mithun. Craig has provided thoughtful design leadership on dozens of award-winning projects including the Bullitt Center, the world’s first commercial office building to achieve Living Building Certification.


Gernot Strube

Senior Partner, McKinsey & Co.

A native of Germany, Gernot has worked out of Munich, Cleveland, and Hong Kong. He has served clients in various industry sectors, with most of his recent work focused on digital transformations, operational strategy, and performance improvement in infrastructure, construction, real estate, aerospace, rail, and transportation.

Gernot has served clients in over 30 countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and many of Gernot’s projects are international in nature. His recent work includes a perspective on the strategic implications of digitization in the construction and infrastructure industries and the development of smart cities and infrastructure. Gernot is a leader of McKinsey’s Global Infrastructure Initiative (GII) and regularly gives keynote presentations at global construction, infrastructure, and technology conferences.

Recent projects include:

Strategy development for a global leader in real estate development

Assessment of the digital transformation of a global E&C leader

Digital transformation of a global industrial EPC leader

Digital Service Strategy for a major E&C with focus on the real estate value chain

Due diligence and operations improvement for a supplier of modular, pre-fabricated real estate

Assessment and pre-selection of modular residential real estate construction suppliers for leading European real estate developer

Establishment of a capability center for the application of 5D BIM technology

Development of the deployment strategy of smart city projects for the EU

Winning bid for a commercial real estate mega project in the Middle East

Digital strategy for an EPC in the Middle East

Design of the technical, financial and governance approach for a greenfield metro mega project

Sales strategy for an integrated construction technology provider

Turnaround of integrated hardware and software infrastructure megaprojects in border security

Gernot earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Kaiserslautern before pursuing a master’s in aeronautical engineering and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Technology Munich. Before joining McKinsey in 1993, he spent five years as a scientific researcher in the field of applied laser diagnostics in combustion engineering, working under international government contracts and for leading automotive and aerospace companies.


Karim Khalifa

Director, Buildings Innovation Sidewalk Labs

Karim is Director of Buildings Innovation for Sidewalk Labs. He has spent his career in the design and construction world, most recently leading the global hotel innovation and design team at Marriott, where he launched the company’s first innovation lab/collaborative design space (The Underground). While at Marriott, he also led the LEED Volume Build program for hotels and launched Marriott’s global modular construction initiative.

Prior to joining Marriott, he managed Parsons Corporation’s South American engineering practice in Lima, Peru and earlier worked in Bechtel’s power and water resource group in the U.S. and overseas.

Karim served in the U.S. Peace Corps as the Western Regional engineer for The Honduran Ministry of Health working in sanitation and vaccine distribution. While he is not tinkering in his workshop, Karim can be found scoping out his next remote adventure.


Ewelina Wozniak-Szpakiewicz, DR

CEO, DMDmodular

Ewelina Wozniak-Szpakiewicz is the Chief Executive Officer at DMDmodular Ltd based in Poland, a company that offers unique volumetric modular solutions with a focus on the housing and hospitality industries to international markets including European countries and the United States. Notable recent accomplishments are a dormitory building in Sion (Switzerland), AC Hotel by Marriott in New York as well as a set of houses for recreational parks in the Netherlands.

Ms.Woźniak-Szpakiewicz is honored to be one of the inaugural members of the European Council of Modular Building Institute (MBI). With a PhD in Technical Sciences, she is part of the Faculty of Architecture at Cracow University of Technology (Poland) while also collaborating at numerous universities in England, Italy, Germany and China. Her main focus is attaining sustainability and efficiency both in the ecological and financial aspects of the built-environment. In 2019, Dr. Ewelina Woźniak-Szpakiewicz received an award – the “Person of the year 2019” in the category “Technology Company” by 4 Buildings Awards.

DMDmodular was established in 2016 and is owned by Forum TFI S.A., one of the largest investment fund companies in Poland. There is a history between DMDmodular’s business and the furniture industry which utilizes high levels of automation in its production process and is important to the efficiency and quality control. The parent organization of DMDmodular is, Black Red White S.A., furniture group in Poland and one of the largest and most innovative manufacturing furniture companies in Europe It was founded in 1991, and has developed 22 production plants across Europe.


Ivan Rupnik, PhD

Founding Partner, ModX

Ivan Rupnik is an architect, scholar, consultant and Associate Professor of Architecture at Northeastern University. Over the last decade, Prof. Rupnik has collaborated closely with Prof. Ryan E. Smith on a series of research and consulting projects related to the global volumetric modular industry, including the “5 in 5 Modular Growth Initiative” Report for MBI. Last year, Rupnik and Smith launched MOD X, a platform for international exchanges related to the volumetric modular industry, with events in Boston, New York and Tokyo. Rupnik’s doctoral work at Harvard University has focused on the development of design and project management tools as well as regulatory frameworks specifically suited for offsite construction. He is a fellow of the Modular Building Institute.

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Date: Jan 28, 2021Time: 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM


Zoom Webinar (Information to be sent to Registrants)1460 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
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Harvard Alumni Architectural and Urban Society

Zoom Webinar (Information to be sent to Registrants)

1460 Broadway, New York, NY, 10036