In San Francisco alone, there are almost 7,000 people living on the streets, a problem that local developer Panoramic Interests hopes to help minimize with their stackable, self-contained tiny apartments. MicroPAD includes a bathroom, kitchenette and sleeping area, all in 14 square meters.
Today, San Francisco is a city of two tales. One tells us the story of a booming tech industry with companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook boosting the local economy, which has already the highest household income of any major metropolitan area in the country. The other one, however, uncovers a city that is currently facing a homeless crisis, with an estimated 6,700 people living on the streets.
Local firm Panoramic Interests has been developing for the last several years a modular housing system and development model that could represent a big step in helping to solve the problem. They came up with the idea of creating a pre-fab stackable tiny apartment that could be built twice as fast as conventional buildings and at nearly half the price. The company argues that by reducing the city’s costs with supportive housing, more people could be given a quality space to live.
Their proposal is called MicroPAD (Prefabricated Affordable Dwelling), a 14 square meter (160 square feet), self-contained tiny apartment. Despite the size, each dwelling comes fully furnished with a kitchenette, private bathroom with shower, armoire, desk and bed. Its oversized windows and 2.7 meters (9 feet)-high ceilings, ensure ample light and air circulation.
According to the developer, MicroPAD exceeds San Francisco’s earthquake regulations and the modules made from steel provide protection from flooding, fire, pests, odors and noise.
MicroPAD units can be stacked upon each other up to 12 stories. The modules can be built on, or in the airspaces above, unused and underutilized city-owned lots. They can even be installed atop existing developments, such as parking lots, for example, significantly reducing costs with construction and land purchase.
According to Panoramic Interests, MicroPAD modules take 40-50 per cent the time to build compared to conventional non pre-fab construction and cost up to 40 per cent less.