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Blokable units, like this model Micro-Blok in Vancouver, Washington, can be stacked together to create multiunit, multistory buildings. Bloks come in two lengths, 28 and 33 feet, and two levels of interior finishes. Glass panes connect the Micro-Blok interior to the exterior landscape.

BUILDING BLOKS

Written by BRIAN LIBBY : Photographed by ANDREW POGUE

IF THE FOUNDERS OF BLOKABLE HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT THE MATTER, TOMORROW’S HOMES WILL BE BUILT FASTER, MORE AFFORDABLY, AND WITH GREATER PRECISION THAN HOUSES OF TODAY. And

although the new Seattle and Vancouver, Washington–based company is still cutting its teeth, its tight-knit creative team is earnest in its mission to design and manufacture high-quality, configurable modular housing units that can be ordered with a click and delivered within weeks. “We’re not doing architecture,” says Blokable co-founder and vice president of design Timothy Miller. “We’re building a product that enables faster and eventually more cost-efficient construction.” Blokable was founded in the fall of 2015 by former Amazon executive Aaron Holm, evolving out of his frustrations with the inefficiencies of traditional construction. While overseeing

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initiatives that led to Amazon’s first brick-and-mortar stores, he realized that each component of a new building is generally custom-constructed outdoors and that projects can take months, if not years, to complete. Starting with a modular concept, Blokable’s steel-framed units, or Bloks, are also embedded with smart technology for app-controlled heating, energy, and security. While most modular housing companies focus on single-family homes, Blokable is seeking to build higher-density housing by stacking its units—buildings up to five stories tall can be assembled onsite in days instead of weeks. Company executives hope their approach to housing will extend beyond the confines of a successful business model to eventually help address cities’ backlogs of affordable-housing construction. “We want to change the conversation about what it takes to build buildings,” Miller says. “We want to make an impact.” »

graymag . com

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7/13/17 6:46 PM

Profile for GRAY

GRAY No. 35  

The DESIGN Magazine of the Pacific Northwest

GRAY No. 35  

The DESIGN Magazine of the Pacific Northwest

Profile for graymag