BLOCK Project

SU Students partner with The BLOCK Project to build homes for people facing homelessness and cultivate community

4 SU students post in front of a blue tinyhouse that they helped build in a backyard

Homelessness in Seattle is a worsening crisis that leaves people living in bleak conditions and excludes them from much of society. Seattle University students partnered with the BLOCK Project to seek solutions to this issue. The BLOCK Project’s mission is to integrate people facing homelessness into supportive neighborhoods by building self-sufficient 125 ft2 detached accessory dwelling units on every Seattle residential block to provide safe shelter and a community of support.

Block Architects recently introduced a new facility, the Block Shop, which provides a space for volunteers to pre-assemble or manufacture major components, allowing for faster assembly on site. The current BLOCK Home design uses traditional wood-framed construction, which requires skilled labor and can generate excessive onsite waste and disruption. Seattle University's CEE Team 20.1 redesigned the BLOCK Home using cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels sourced from the CLT manufacturing waste stream. After months of research and calculations on CLT and the CLT manufacturing waste stream, the team designed a BLOCK Home that adheres to the Living Building Challenge, uses CLT’s offsite manufacturing capability, and is easily assembled by volunteers to decrease the cost of skilled labor. For more information about the design, watch the video below.