By: Aaron Neal
From the innovative minds of Arlan Collins and Mark Woerman – principles at CollinsWoerman – comes Sustainable Living Innovations. This new company formed in 2008 with the goal of producing vertical housing projects that would reduce the time of construction, cut the water and energy usage by fifty percent, and lower construction costs by ten percent. These are pretty bold claims, but the company already has created a full sized mockup of their innovative design, and have completed the first full project – 47+7 in Seattle, Washington – proves that the firm’s ideas are possible.
The six story building includes twenty four units that range in size from 427 to 534 square feet. These units are geared for people in the University District of Seattle allowing for quick access to the University of Washington’s campus, downtown Seattle, and Interstate 5. The building itself is a showcase to the type of construction that was implemented. The exposed steel frame becomes the main architectural element on the façade of the building expressing the nature of the design. By using a system of components – floors, wall panels, and bathroom units – and a steel frame, the building was assembled in only eight months. The wall and floor systems were bolted together rather than a traditional welding joint to allow for quicker assembly. Other components were then craned into place once the frame was together. This method of construction could be very beneficial to this thesis research as it applies component based construction on a mid-rise building scale. With further research, this method could be used for different building types and alternative aesthetics to meet the varying needs of clients.