This is a prototype apartment unit built using what is likely the only fabrication system on the market that can be scaled to construct mid-rise buildings.  The system is called Sustainable Living Innovations, or SLI, and it was developed during the downturn of the last few years under the leadership of CollinsWoerman and three other firms, McKinstry, Lydig Construction, and DCI Engineers.

The SLI model or prototype was constructed in a warehouse in south Seattle.  This would be the fourth floor of something like a six-story building.  As you can see, it’s quite open and modern in its details and finishes.

“SLI offers an attractive design and use of materials. It provides a healthier living environment with more access to natural light and fresh air, and open layouts and communal courtyards provide modern, streamlined spaces,” according to a fact sheet provided by CollinsWoerman, the same firm behind the award-winning Bastyr project.

An SLI building would be designed to achieve at least LEED Silver, but that’s not all this is about.  SLI capitalizes on waste reduction, off-site fabrication, labor cost savings, and quick site assembly to deliver a high-quality, durable, and well-designed building without any delays.

Though we’ve seen prefab construction outside of the single-family context, such as with The Modules, this system is slightly different.  Here’s how it works.  The structure is built around several prefab floor slabs.  Then a steel frame is erected around the slabs.  Next, lifting equipment hoists the slabs up to the right level to be attached to the steel frame.  In a separate location, walls are fabricated with everything in a utility chase and they’re attached and connected to the units.

SLI benefits from a plug-and-play, modular style of construction by ensuring structures are completed according to schedule.  It’s the kind of system that could be used for market-rate, student, military, or affordable housing, as well as other uses such as resort or hospitality.

All things considered, SLI allows for an aggressive development schedule, reduced labor, and flexible uses – even 35-foot floor-to-ceiling glass is not out of the question.  Arlan Collins, principal with CollinsWoerman, says his group has a dozen projects being priced with 2-3 in final negotiations, according to Multi-Housing News.

Credits: Doug Scott (#1-2), CollinsWoerman (#3).