07/20/2014 10:16 EDT | Updated 09/19/2014 05:59 EDT

NYC apartment house seeks to show how modular design stacks up in the quest for cool

NEW YORK, N.Y. - A seven-story structure near Manhattan's northern tip is billed as New York City's first multistory, modular-built apartment building to open to renters.

Called the Stack, the building aims to show that while stackable apartments can save builders time and money, modular doesn't have to mean boring. Its chunky front embraces its building-block roots, but the apartments' interiors have varied floor plans and stylish finishes and fixtures.

Studios start at about $1,600 a month and three-bedrooms go for $3,700.

Modular construction — assembling a building from prefabricated sections instead of building from scratch on-site — has been around for decades, but interest has grown recently around the country and in its biggest city. The world's tallest modular building, a 32-story apartment tower, is rising in Brooklyn.