We all know them and they are popular in cities~those blocky apartment buildings often with retail on the main floor . They’ve been called “stumpies” or “five-over-one” (relating to the condo units above the ground level retail use) but the form and function are completely familiar. Maybe a bit too common.
Justin Fox in Bloomberg Businessweek describes this building form this way: “The number of floors and the presence of a podium varies; the key unifying element, it turns out, is under the skin. They’re almost always made of softwood two-by-fours, or “stick,” in construction parlance, that have been nailed together in frames like those in suburban tract houses.” Fox sees these buildings everywhere~while 187,000 housing units were built in buildings of 50 units or more in the United States last year, half of those units appear to be in this blocky mid-rise form. The balloon or stick framing construction costs appear to be from 20 to 40 percent less than buildings with “concrete, steel or masonry.”
The building method can take advantage of cheaper casual labour , and construction lumber is plentiful. Read more »