Main Category: Modular Building Design
Company: Lowney Architecture
Affiliate: Holliday Development
Location: Emeryville, CA
Building Use: Student and Affordable Housing
Gross Size of Project: 160840 Square Feet
Days to complete: 823
The Intersection, a 7 story mixed use, urban infill and transit oriented development, is the first completed volumetric modular project in the City of Emeryville. After double arson attacks derailed the project’s original plans, the development became 105 units of housing for UC Berkeley grad students and facilities for the university’s ophthalmology department. The layout and design prioritize housing density and emphasize urban living. The residential building has an I shaped, double loaded corridor with units that range from studios to 4 bedroom units. Larger end units are located along the shorter north and south corridors, and east and west facing units feature private balconies. Additional amenities include parking, private open space, and a demonstration rain garden that also serves the public. Corrugated metal siding and stucco highlight an exterior feature wall of panelized corten steel. The ground floor glass curtain is accented with cone sculptures curated by a local artist.
Technical Innovation & Sustainability
Originally designed for modular delivery, the project was later converted to site built construction. After suffering two, separate arson incidents, the Intersection was remodularized to volumetric wood construction to recoup lost time and minimize additional onsite construction. The first two attempts at building the five floors using conventional framing required eight months each. The modular build took six weeks. To maximize density and produce as much housing as possible, the commercial building fills the entire end lot of the block on a busy street, and the long, narrow residential building stretches along two back-to-back lots, creating a zero-lot-line façade on both side streets. Utilizing a local factory helped overcome the site's lack of staging space by delivering prefinished modules directly to the site on the day of installation. The Intersection is comprised of 175 modules, five modular levels of 35 modules per floor, plus 10 stair modules.
After the client suffered two fires during the construction of the project, the decision to return to modular construction allowed for cost savings, rather than a third attempt at site build. The first two attempts at site build required 8 months each, while the modular build required 6 weeks. Additionally, this change of delivery method was more cost effective due to the relationship between client, factory and contractor. With all entities having overlapping leadership, the strong relationship plus the factory's supplier network allowed for a standardized assembly method and streamline for decisions associated with materials, installation, risk, schedule, and costs. As mentioned, having a local factory also reduced transportation and staging costs and allowed for same day delivery and stacking.