While everyone in New York City is going gaga over the possibility of tiny micro-flats, in San Francisco they have been building them for a while. A new project being built by by Panoramic Interests is doing it with modular prefab.
It is a project by developer Patrick Kennedy and his company, Panoramic Interests, with Zeta Communities as the builder. Kennedy tells the San Francisco Business Times that "the target demographic for the units are young, single professionals who see the city as their living room."
This kind of living is appealing to people who like living in cities and all the stimuli and attractions that are available.
This kind of mid-rise housing is particularly well suited to modular construction. The entire apartment can fit within one module which isn't so wide as to make delivery in a city difficult. There is a double wall between every unit, a double ceiling and floor, so that the acoustics are better than just about any other kind of construction.
The plan of the unit is clever, with a built-in bed that folds up to reveal a dining table.
We do go on about how small fridges make good cities; I really don't know why there would be a full size fridge when you are a block away from Whole Foods. It's my only complaint.
The press release gets it right:
Green building is at the center of the next big movement in urban infill with the trend towards micro-dwellings. With GenY demanding environmentally friendly elements to their homes, and downsizing to live smart, we are in the midst of a true urban revitalization. With the global population expected to increase to 9-billion in the next 30 years it is time to recognize that the urban center is the answer to accommodating this change. The goal: do it in the smartest way possible economically, environmentally and aesthetically.
The builder, Zeta, builds a very nice box, to very high standards. The project is going for LEED gold and shouldn't have any trouble achieving it.
ZETA's ultra-efficient building envelope design includes high R-value insulation-R-30 roof, R-22 walls R-5 exterior rigid foam, R-22 floor, and R-5 and R-7 Energy Star Rated windows-along with natural daylighting and ventilation.
When people talk about increasing density in cities, everyone imagines the 40 storey buildings. In fact, you can build out so many of our main streets at four storeys with this kind of construction more quickly and efficiently with far less disruption and loss of neighbourhood character. I hope this is the first of many projects like this.