Self Storage: A Pattern Book


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This Pattern Book is the culmination of two months of research on the self storage building type. It is the work of myself and five of my colleagues at Northeastern\'s Graduate School of Architecture.

The research presented in the book is the foundation of our six independent theses, proposing interventions into the self storage type.

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  • An interesting read. Our experience is of the UK market which is smaller but very similar to the US. It's a good introduction into the self storage industry.
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Self Storage: A Pattern Book

  1. 1. Self Storage A Pattern Book Jessie Carroll Pooneh Fassihi Nealia Giarratani Chris Giblin SS Mike Griffin Jamie Pirperis
  2. 2. Self Storage Self Storage Sources Table of Contents Most Influential The American Institute of Architectural Graphic Standards, 11th Edition. Hoboken: Architects Wiley & Sons Inc., 2007. ISS Inside Self-Storage Using Site Security as a Marketing Tool-Luz. A Ber Self-Storage Construction-Heath Mulkey and Joe Trepke Kiwi II Construction 4 Introduction 6 Evolution Libery Building Systems 16 Site 2009 BlueScope Buildings North America, Inc. 28 Organization Massachusetts Building Code Commonwealth of Massachusetts 44 Structure William F. Galvin 66 Units 76 Systems Mini Storage Outlet 88 Access 98 Economy Providing Self-Storage Solutions 120 Matrix Self Storage Association Self Storage Deals Five Top Reasons Why People Use Self Storage-Daniel Myers The Onion Local Self Storage Facility A Museum of Personal Failure TBS Trachte Building Systems Texas Self Storage Association Wise Geek What Size Storage Unit Do I Need?-Cathy Rogers 2 3
  3. 3. Self Storage Self Storage As Typology The United States currently has 2.3 billion square feet of self storage space...more than seven square feet for every man, woman and child. It’s now “physically possible that every American could stand - all at the same time- under the total canopy of self storage roofing. Introduction The erecting of self-storage facilities, and the evolution of self storage as a building typology, is one specific to the last half century. The initiation of the movement was based on a human need. Co ns y This need transpired from issues including; um ilit er ob ism M consumerism, mobility and life crisis. Post WWII the price of goods plummeted 50% while American wages increased. The result was vast consumerism, that is people buying more than ever before and needing a Life Cris place to store their items. is American mobility also sponsored a need for temporary storage. The average American moves eleven times in one’s lifetime. In the US alone 40 million people move each year. Therefore there is an immense need for $$ $$ -$$ +$$ temporary self-storage. Efficienc ty y Profitabili Lastly life crisis also added to the growing need for storage. Many connect this to the “no fault” divorce laws and the subsequent need for storage. Other life milestones include; college students, empty nesters, dramatic downsizing, and home or business SS SS foreclosures. As the need for storage evolved real-estate developers realized the economic profits available in the industry of storage. Therefore the most economic efficient means were utilized in the formation of facilities to cut upfront costs and increase profitability. It is the economics that shape the form of this typology. 5
  4. 4. Self Storage evolution Evolution site organization 8 Timelines The evolution of Self Storage has strong ties to American 10 Domestic Storage culture. Topics of culture such as economy, family, geography, ideals, etc have all shaped the industry of 12 Disembodiment from the Home Self Storage. 14 Analysis Both fixed and portable Self Storage types have been structure influenced by specific cultural trends over the past century. units systems access economy 7
  5. 5. Self Storage Self Storage Timeline Timeline evolution evolution 2008: GDP $14,441.4 B 2008: site site 51,251 Self Storage Facilities organization organization s ilitie fac age t or lfs structure structure f se ro be m 1984: nu GDP $3,930.9 B 1964: GDP $663.6 B units units uct gros s domestic prod 1984: 1780s 1900s 1951 1952 1998 1964: 6,601 Self Storage Facilities First Self Storage Facility Railroad Container Ships Truck Based 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s systems systems The history of self storage as we know In 1964 the first self storage facility was it in America begins with the growth of built in Odessa, Texas. Most items in suburbia in the 1950s. As Americans the original Self Storage facility were became wealthier they were acquiring household products. more possessions than they needed on access access a regular basis. This lead to the need In the graph above notice the similarity for storage outside of the home. between the rate of change of the Loose Boxes Closed Container Purpose-Built CONEX PODS Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Open top containers Rail containers Vessel US Army “Container Portable On Demand number of Self Storage facilities. used to ship raw with covered roof Ships designed to Express” Storage system materials via rail to protect materials transport cargo, standardized steel which moves and/ economy economy within converted tankers containers or stores personal/ until this point office items 8 portable fixed fixed portable 9
  6. 6. Self Storage Self Storage Domestic Storage evolution evolution Percentage of Storage within the Home 5.36% storage site site organization organization The relationship between Self Storage and the American house is complicated. As the size of the home has grown, the percentage of storage within the home has also increased. Also, family size has decreased over the past century, essentially the home is getting larger with more storage within it and less people living there. structure structure 2.18% storage However, the need for Self Storage has grown rapidly. <0.1% storage In the graph on the previous page the shaded section house size: 2,400 sq ft shows the square footage of the home that is not taken storage size: 128.64 sq ft up by storage. From right to left there is a decrease in the margin between what is living space and what is units units storage space. Early to mid-century typical house plans show small deposits of storage (in green) compared to the later systems systems plan showing dispersed storage through out the house, especially around bedrooms and bathrooms. None of house size: 983 sq ft these diagrams account for basement, attic, or garage storage size: 21.43 sq ft house size: 700 sq ft storage; the focus is on the historically living spaces and storage size: 0.7 sq ft the encroachment of storage into that. access access house size-sq ft economy economy storage amount-sq ft 1900 1950 2000 10 portable fixed 11
  7. 7. Self Storage Self Storage Disembodiment from the Home Disembodiment of from the Home evolution evolution site site organization organization structure structure units units Historically Americans provided As Americans became more Finally, Americans were able During the 1990s portable The user could also have the Or alternatively the user could their own storage within the “house proud” storage was to store their overflow of storage containers became container shipped to a new choose to have the contain home, clustered in areas such ejected from the home and possessions in storage facilities. a popular alternative to self location, generally for moving to stored at a facility owned by the as closets, basements, and forced into the garage. These facilities are away from storage facilities. Portable a new home. container company. The facility attics. the home, but usually within containers are dropped at the is generally not accessed by the systems systems the same town to allow for easy user’s home and packed by the user, and the container has to access. user. The user has the option to be brought to the user’s home keep the container on their own to retrieve items from within. property. Essentially the user has lost a geographic connection to their access access items being stored. economy economy 12 portable fixed fixed portable 13
  8. 8. Self Storage Self Storage Analyisis Analysis evolution evolution “Who” Stores Store “What” Sentimental Items Academic Documents Furniture One in ten U.S. households People often store items Students store their now rent a self-storage unit. 50% of people store from deceased loved academic documents and furniture. It is the most The use of self-storage and its ones or items from failed small household items site site commonly stored item. demographic has increased relationships or marriages. between semesters. This is a result of what is dramatically in recent years. Appliances Storing is used as a way of Adults often store these referred to as the IKEA With the US facing an economic preserving one’s history. dated documents for later effect - furniture costs less People moving, downsizing, reference. recession a record number or experiencing home/ so people buy more. organization organization of homes and businesses buisness forclosures are finding themselves in may need to store large foreclosure. Therefore the household items. demand for larger units has skyrocketed in comparison to Families in Transition Home/ Buisness Foreclosures the smaller unit utilized in the consumerism/ economic boom. structure structure units units systems systems College Students in Transition Divorcee’s Exercise Equipment In an interview published Office Equipment access access by The Onion, one storage Failed businesses store facility claimed to store their equipment in hopes the largest collection of of utilizing it someday. Nordic Tracks, and the Households store dated owner foresaw an eventual electronic devices. increase in Bow Flexes. economy economy Empty Nester’s Downsizing 14 portable fixed fixed portable 15
  9. 9. Self Storage evolution Site site organization 19 Site Location Self-storage facilities are built on different sites. They 20 Urban Compact are divided into four different sites: Urban Compact, Highway/Edge-City, Industrial/ Suburban, and Private 22 Highway/ Edge-City Property. 24 Industrial/ Suburban 26 Private Property There are many important factors that are taken into structure consideration for the different sites, but the four most important factors are: demographics, land values, speed/ visibility and parking space. Demographics studies of a specific site indicate the population that live in the area and help to understand the need for self-storage facility in the area. Land values are the most important factor. In units Urban compact and highway/edge-city sites, because of dense population land value is higher compared to the Industrial/Suburban sites. Self-storage facilities should be built on a site with high visibility to drivers, therefore, systems looking at the vehicle speeds of the neighborhood is also important. access economy 17
  10. 10. Self Storage Site evolution Location site organization Site Location structure Urban Highway Industrial Private Property Compact (edge-city Suburban (Portable) units systems access economy fixed portable 19
  11. 11. Self Storage Self Storage Site Site evolution evolution Urban Compact Urban Compact site site Demographics Speed/ Visibility Self-storage facilities located in urban compact sites are The self-storage facilities in urban compact sites are designed in dense residential areas. The population is located on a main road, where the speed limit is 30 mph. organization organization usually consisted of single male and female, young This allows the drivers to see the self-storage facility married couples usually with one child, and college while driving. students. structure structure Land Values Parking units units Due to high property values and dense population, urban Due to high land value parking space is minimized for sites create an ideal site for building a multi-story self- multi-story self storage facilities in the urban compact storage facility. sites, because these facilities try to provide more storage space than parking. systems systems $$$$ access access economy economy 20 portable fixed fixed portable 21
  12. 12. Self Storage Self Storage Site Site evolution evolution Highway - Edge City Highway - Edge City site site Demographics Speed/ Visibility Some self-storage facilities are located by local highways The average speed limit on a highway is 60 mph. A self- for high visibility to the drivers. They are on zones storage facility that is built on a highway is visible to all organization organization between residential and commercial areas or edge of the people who drive by daily. city. The population is consisted of families with children where the need for storage space is a must. structure structure Land Values Parking units units Sites located at highway/ edge city are expensive but the Due to high land value parking space is minimized for land value is considered to be cheaper than urban/ multi-story self storage facilities that are built by a compact sites. highway. Since parking space is always an issue in a city, Therefore, this type of site is an ideal site for building a self-storage facilities try to provide parking space to the systems systems multi-story self-storage facility. customers for easy access. $$$ access access economy economy 22 portable fixed fixed portable 23
  13. 13. Self Storage Self Storage Site Site evolution evolution Industrial/ Suburban Industrial/ Suburban site site Demographics Speed/ Visibility The Industrial/ Suburban sites house multiple of single Self-storage facilities in an Industrial/ Suburban site are story buildings, and the portable storage facilities. Since located on a main road, with high visibility to drivers. organization organization these sites are at the edge of industrial and suburban The average speed limit is 40 mph, where the driver can housing, the population is consisted of families with easily see the storage units while driving by. children living in single family houses. structure structure Land Values Parking units units The Industrial/ Suburban sites provide bigger and Since these sites house the single-story buildings with cheaper land compared to the urban compact sites. This access to units from the exterior, parking space is gives a flexibility of adding as many storage buildings as minimized, because people can drive their cars to their possible. units and access their goods, therefore there is no need systems systems for parking space. There is usually a few parking spots located by the entrance for customers who need to rent a unit. $ access access economy economy 24 portable fixed fixed portable 25
  14. 14. Self Storage Self Storage Site Site evolution evolution Private Property Private Property site site Home Garage Office One of the sites for placing a portable storage container Portable containers are not only used by households, but is on a home property/ parking garage. Therefore, the they are also used by offices to store supplies. These organization organization container will become part of home and can stay on site containers can be stored in a basement level, storage as long as the owner needs to access it. room or parking garage of an office building. They can be placed on site as long as needed. structure structure Street Facility units units Sometimes these containers can be place on the street The portable storage containers can also be transported by the house, but the amount of time where they can be to a self-storage facility and stored there as long as placed there is limited. needed and they can be transported to a home or an office when needed. These facilities are usually located systems systems in Industrial/ Suburban sites. access access economy economy 26 portable fixed fixed portable 27
  15. 15. Self Storage evolution Building Organization site organization 30 Introduction Self Storage facilities can have many different building 32 Single Story types. These types are often dependant on the site where the building is located. These building types can 34 Single StoryConditioned be divided into two main building categories, fixed and 36 Multi-Story portable. 38 Mechanized structure 40 Warehouse The fixed type can be divided into several subcategories each with several different building types. The layout of these subcategories can vary depending on whether it is located in a single story or a multi story building. Single story buildings consist of both single story and single story conditioned buildings. These are typically located units on industrial/suburban sites. Multi-story buildings have two types, multi-story and mechanized. Multi-story buildings are usually located on urban compact or edge- city sites. Mechanized storage is a high-end storage systems type where units are located on a rotating carousel so they can only be accessed by being lowered down to the entry level. Portable storage facilities are typically located on industrial/ suburban sites. The individual units can then access be delivered to any home or business for the client and either moved to the facility for storage or to another location. economy 29
  16. 16. Self Storage Self Storage Building Organization Building Organization evolution evolution Introduction Introduction site site Building Organization organization organization Fixed Storage Portable Storage structure structure Fixed Storage Portable Storage units units Single Story Single Story Multi-Story Mechanized Conditioned Warehouse systems systems Fixed storage buildings are either multiple of one story Portable self-storage is a portable alternative to the buildings or a multi-story building. The single story traditional or fixed storage. Instead of renting a storage buildings are common in the suburban areas, where land unit and having to take the belongings to the unit, the is bigger and cheaper. The multi-story buildings are ones portable unit is brought to the house or office. When the access access that are located in urban areas, where land is smaller and unit is filled with goods, it is then returned to the facility, population is dense. usually located in suburban areas. economy economy 30 portable fixed fixed portable 31
  17. 17. Self Storage Self Storage Fixed Storage Fixed Storage evolution evolution Single Story Single Story Dimensions site site 25’-0” Dimension to Fence 25’-0” organization organization 9’-12’-0” Varies structure structure Vehicle Path units units Building Width Parking Office systems systems These buildings have units that are accessed from the exterior. They have fencing around Vehicle Path 25’-0” the building with a gate system and an office on the front. The dimension between buildings 25 ’-0 is 25’-0” for vehicular access to the drive-up ” 38 access access units. The common building width is 25’-0” with a height ranging from 9’-0” to 12’-0”. ft 2 square footage % efficiency economy economy See market chapter for more information 32 portable fixed fixed portable 33
  18. 18. Self Storage Self Storage Fixed Storage Fixed Storage evolution evolution Single Story - Conditioned Single Story - Conditioned Interior Units End-Units site site y ar e sV z Si 9’-0” - 12’-0” organization organization Interior Corridor Interior Units Varies structure structure 25 5’-0” ’d ee p 9’-0” - 12’-0” un its Varies units units Office/ Parking Dimension 25’-0” Building Wide Units to Building systems systems The exterior and interior type in addition to exterior drive-up units also has interior units. Interior Units - Climate Control Units These units are called climate-control-units. They are units that are temperature controlled and protect the materials from humidity and Office 63 access access severe weather. These units are connected with an interior corridor. Similar to exterior units, there is an office at the entrance for Parking ft 2 square footage % efficiency customer service. economy economy See market chapter for more information 34 portable fixed fixed portable 35
  19. 19. Self Storage Self Storage Fixed Storage Fixed Storage evolution evolution Multi-Story Multi-Story Interior Units Smaller Units Interior Units site site Interior Corridor 7’-0” Interior Corridor Inside Units organization organization 5’-0” structure structure Perimeter Units Interior Corridor units units Office/ Entry Larger Units systems systems Elevator Multi-story buildings are ones that all of their Multi-story buildings have various sizes units are located inside and access to them is Entrance of units that are connected to each other only possible through the facility. They have a Lobby with a 5’ corridor, and in some areas 7’ loading dock where the goods are brought to corridors. These units are usually climate the facility. They are taken to the elevator and 68 access access controlled since they are located inside then to the upper floors. These buildings can have many stories, but they are usually 3-4 stories tall. the building. Larger units are usually located on the perimeter of the building ft 2 square footage % Office Office and smaller units are dispersed efficiency throughout the building. economy economy See market chapter for more information 36 portable fixed fixed portable 37