Featuring Andrew North Jr. and Zack Bishop
Blokable, founded in March 2016 by former Amazon Product manager, Aaron Holm, is a Seattle startup focused on pre-manufactured housing "blocks" that aim to speed up production, cut unnecessary costs and tackle affordable housing. Originating with Holm’s fascination for container architecture and the idea of making housing that can be easily configured, Blokable foresees a future of fully integrated communities. Unlike other similar modular projects, each Blokable unit has a fully integrated computer system called “BlokSense." This smart-home platform provides homeowners with a tablet interface to control their electric, water, temperature, lighting and security systems on top of standard power-saving features like setting Home, Away, Sleep, or Vacation. Residents are able to talk directly to property managers with the built in Slack application. With a unique target market, Blokable concentrates on affordable housing projects for students, teachers, and low-income families.
The project is based mainly on repetition due to a set frame and panalized interior that allow it to be mass produced in large quantities. Blokable's individual modular housing units are called Bloks and are available in lengths from 18 feet to 38 feet. The price per square foot ranges from $150 to $300 where finished units cost between $25,000 and $100,000, depending on their overall size. The units are fully customizable with choices of basic or premium kitchens/bathrooms, modular decks, stairs, railings, and several window systems. After a Blok is manufactured, they are trucked to their destination, craned in place and connected to utilities. While similar companies are barely able to stack two units, Blokable is able to stack Bloks five units high allowing for increased versatility and configuration options.
Blokable's panalized and modular construction is closely aligned with the Arckit platform. The rigid frame and panalized systems can be easily represented by Arckit's components and the scaled dimensions line up nicely. Inspired by the programming of a future Blokable community, Zack Bishop, Andrew North Jr. and I created a variety of Bloks based on the company's available unit floorplans making for an excellent project.
Singles, Studio Couples, Studio Dual Bath, Laundry/Custodial, Storage, and Community Dining bloks were arranged on a large base-plate to form a community infrastructure with residential, storage and utility Bloks all surrounding a central community center and gathering area. This community infrastructure could be repeated over and over providing disaster aid relief and all the necessary means to support 15 people per section.
The residential, storage and utility Bloks were made with the same repeated structural frame, a 2 X 5 Arckit grid representing 8 feet by 24 feet, with different panalized walls to represent their individual functions. The community dining area, placed on an elevated platform, uses the same dimensioning but, with multiple units linked together with an open structural frame.
Overall, Blokable's different modules were successfully visualized with the Arckit modeling platform, making for an excellent project to both understand and map out the infrastructure for a rapidly deploy-able community.
Zack Bishop is a first year architecture student at the University of Maryland. He is interested in sustainable materials and design as well as techniques to fortify buildings for extreme weather situations.
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