Published on September 9th, 2008 | by Kristin Dispenza3
Prefabricated Apartment Units Offer an Affordable Housing Solution
In August, Seattle’s Queen Anne/Magnolia neighborhood Design Review Board approved a proposal for Seattle’s first prefabricated apartment building. Known as “inhabit”, conceptualized by Unico Properties and designed by architectural firms Mithun and HyBrid Seattle, the structure will be comprised of factory-built, wood-frame modular units.
Two of the prototype models were put on display on the base of Unico’s Rainier Tower last fall. But inhabit’s first permanent installation, at Dexter Avenue North (in West Lake Union), will consist of 62 units that will be manufactured in Idaho, shipped to Seattle, and stacked in groups of 3 and 4 atop a concrete base. The base will also accommodate parking and live-work units. Each prefabricated module will be either a 450 sq. ft. studio apartment, or a 525 sq. ft. one-bedroom unit. It is hoped that the first tenants will move in by May.
Unico’s President and CEO, Dale Sperling, told The Seattle Times that the housing type should help provide 20-somethings with a stylish and sustainable urban living option. Inhabit’s standardized design will help cut architectural and engineering costs, as well as reduce the amount of time and effort spent on permitting and construction. By passing along cost savings to tenants, Unico can offer affordable in-city housing, furthering Seattle’s goal of achieving greater urban density.
Unico intends to install inhabit complexes at other urban infill sites across the city, and plans to pursue LEED certification for each community that it builds.
Each unit features several green construction features:
- a green roof
- heat-reflecting construction materials (which reduce cooling costs)
- rubber flooring, and
- the use of recycled decking materials
Image Credit: caphillchamber.org
To read more about prefabricated buildings, see:
- Low Impact Living: Green Prefab – Everyone’s Into Modular Homes on Green Building Elements
- Low Impact Living: Green Prefab Coming to a Market Near You on Green Building Elements
- The Greenness of Prefabrication on Green Building Elements
- Low Impact Living: Green Weefab Mini-Homes on Green Building Elements