While Determine Design doesn't usually work on residential dwellings, multifamily buildings such as apartments, condominiums and some townhomes require a licensed architect on the project. This is due to additional features being required for these large buildings, including greater structural loads and generally more durable materials for the construction and finishes, among many other things to consider.
Determine Design was introduced to the client through the mechanical and electrical engineering firm hired by the owner. At the time we got on board, the project already had a site plan for the campus located in Eagle River. This included plans for a build-out of three independent apartment buildings, however, at the time no plans existed for the buildings themselves.
The client wanted to develop a great apartment building that would meet code and require little in maintenance and utility costs–a good investment development. Typically the number of units in the building would require an elevator system and more extensive fire protection systems, the initial concept also required a large area of common space which would need to be heated and maintained without producing any income for the property.
Our design subdivided the campus into three individual buildings with exterior stair access to each unit, eliminating heated common space in the building. We located accessible dwelling units on the ground level to avoid the need for elevators. In addition, the mechanical and electrical engineering firm incorporated micro-turbines into the plan for the building to produce electricity and heat on-site by combusting natural gas. Incidentally, this one of the first properties in Alaska to have used micro-turbines.