Miller Hull

Collaborative design effort maximizes potential of wood building in California

Source: The Construction Specifier

2-15-2021 | News

Located at 8th and B, the emerging core of downtown National City, California, is a 12,077-m2 (130,000-sf) mixed-use development that leveraged the creative talents of the architect, developer, and builder. The project team recently finished the structural wood framing on the project.

Developed by Malick Infill Development and Protea Properties, and designed by the Miller Hull Partnership, LLP, the project offers 127 residential units with ground-floor commercial space. The builder is Cannon Constructors.

Maximizing a building type
The project maximizes the potential of wood frame construction with a six-over-two design, utilizing I-A, III-A, and V-B construction types. More typically seen is five stories of wood on top of a single story of concrete. The additional story in both the concrete podium and the wood tower allowed for office space to lease at level 2 and tenant amenity plus view access at level 8.

The project team was also challenged by zoning that split the site into two. One half of the site allowed for taller, more dense construction, while the other half stepped down to a rowhome typology. The team worked with Woodworks on how to maximize the denser half of the site more efficiently. The team’s solution to meeting the zoning code maximized the potential of the site by driving higher density along 8th Street (as intended per the Downtown Specific Plan) while stepping down and respecting the smaller scale residential neighborhood to the south.

The design team, led by Ben Dalton of Miller Hull, came up with a solution that met the budget constraints of the developer who wanted to avoid building costly below-grade parking. Eliminating below-grade parking and the related mechanical ventilation reduced construction cost and operational expenses while also minimizing building energy consumption. The resulting design was two stories of concealed above-grade parking under the six stories of wood. While building code does not allow residential on the sixth floor, the developer programmed that floor with amenity spaces.

The team also used prefabricated wood walls and floor joists to maintain the construction schedule and budget while dealing with impacts to the supply and labor chain due to COVID-19.

Read the full story at The Construction Specifier