Mini Apartments and Next-Wave Prefab, Part 3

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October 24, 2012

This blog series profiles a new prefab development in San Francisco's SOMA neighborhood—a LEED Platinum-targeted building containing 23 "micro-studios." Built in a California factory in a month and assembled on-site in just four days, these 300-square-foot units are paving the path to a new approach to prefab—and to small-space city living. PART THREE: Factory construction and on-site assembly.


Harriet Street represents the culmination of ZETA Communities’s original vision to build ultra-green multifamily and urban prefab buildings. Prefab multifamily projects have been built all over the world as global developers have realized the benefits; witness this time-lapse video (with almost five million views) of a 30-story modular building erected in just 15 days in China.

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  In ZETA's factory, an acoustic model was tested by Salter Engineering. It received one of the highest acoustic ratings—a very important consideration for small spaces so they don’t feel crowded at a high density. Later, developer Patrick Kennedy conducted some amateur testing and cranked up music on a bluetooth speaker—and couldn’t hear it in the next door unit.
    In ZETA's factory, an acoustic model was tested by Salter Engineering. It received one of the highest acoustic ratings—a very important consideration for small spaces so they don’t feel crowded at a high density. Later, developer Patrick Kennedy conducted some amateur testing and cranked up music on a bluetooth speaker—and couldn’t hear it in the next door unit.
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  The first unit was built as a model to test quality, design, structural, and other key aspects of the building.
    The first unit was built as a model to test quality, design, structural, and other key aspects of the building.
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  Here's the ceiling being craned into place.
    Here's the ceiling being craned into place.
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  It took about a month to construct all 23 micro-units, each around 300 square feet. Each completed unit contained all interior finishes, from plumbing, electrical, and drywall to cabinets, flooring, and light fixtures.
    It took about a month to construct all 23 micro-units, each around 300 square feet. Each completed unit contained all interior finishes, from plumbing, electrical, and drywall to cabinets, flooring, and light fixtures.
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  When the modules were completed in the factory, they were shipped to the site in stages. At the destination, crews faced challenges typical of a dense urban infill site, with narrow streets and traffic.
    When the modules were completed in the factory, they were shipped to the site in stages. At the destination, crews faced challenges typical of a dense urban infill site, with narrow streets and traffic.
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  Each day four 65-foot modules were craned into place. Three modules contained a total of six units units; the fourth module contained a four-story stair atrium/elevator. This stacked up to one floor per day.
    Each day four 65-foot modules were craned into place. Three modules contained a total of six units units; the fourth module contained a four-story stair atrium/elevator. This stacked up to one floor per day.
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  Crews set the final module in place. With only 1/8" tolerances between each unit, it was quite a feat. Over the following weeks, the corridor, roof, and exterior cladding will be completed. Stay tuned to see the finished product!
    Crews set the final module in place. With only 1/8" tolerances between each unit, it was quite a feat. Over the following weeks, the corridor, roof, and exterior cladding will be completed. Stay tuned to see the finished product!

@current / @total

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