In 2012, the army started planning a new family-oriented housing complex at Camp Walker in Daegu, South Korea.
It was an ambitious project that would feature four 15-story residential towers, each named after medieval Korean kingdoms: Shilla, Baekje, Goguryeo, and Kaya.
The four towers would each include a 3-level parking structure, green space, playgrounds, and of course apartments.
In 2015 construction began, and in 2019 the first of the Towers—Shilla—opened to soldiers and their families.
According to Challen Kelker, Directorate for Public Works D.H.M., Chief of Housing, a major benefit of USAG Daegu Shilla Tower includes having the majority of service members living on post which adds to mission readiness.
In this way, these new apartments will bring the USAG Daegu community on post. At the same time, it will significantly improve quality of life accommodations for soldiers and their families.
Specifically, USAG Daegu Shilla Tower is the first of the four towers ready for action. It boasts 90 apartments with a mix of 3, 4, and 5 bedroom units.
According to Kelker, “Each apartment will come furnished including refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, washer, and dryer. Fully energy efficient, operating on a heat recycling system.”
Process, Challenge, Solution
For DCI, this project was different from the usual projects put out by the Army Corps of Engineers in Huntsville, AL.
The vast majority of the housing furniture purchased by the military is for bachelor housing or dormitories. That requires a certain kind of furniture design, and that makes sense given the high turnover and high traffic environments they need to furnish.
In this case they were purchasing furniture for family housing in a newly constructed apartment building. And the project had special significance because the stakeholders wanted to make extra effort to offer these families the best furniture.
Because they wanted these apartments to feel more like a home for families than an army barracks.
They were targeting a design concept that would be attractive but also durable since there was bound to be a lot of turnover.
So instead of specific criteria, the Corps of Engineers provided images for inspiration. In truth, there were looking for guidance and vision.
We bid on the project and won.
The scope of the project included coffee tables, dining furniture, dining tables, seating, and appliances.
Compressed Timelines & Value Added Solution
The project featured tight delivery requirements in terms of the timeline. The heart of the project was the soft seating arrangements of lounge chairs and sofas.
The spec also required high end fabric which had a long timeline for delivery and therefore diverged from our deadline. Consequently, it wasn’t possible to deliver the fully upholstered product.
This obviously presented a unique challenge. So we developed an upgraded solution which allowed us to upholster—and reupholster—the soft seating in the field.
This solved our problem by allowing us to deliver the soft seating without fabric. We shipped the fabric directly to Korea and upholstered the chairs and sofas onsite.
At the same time, this solution creates a value add for our client. If there’s a spill, they can just replace the covers on the damaged parts of the furniture. The fabric is fully replaceable and we left them with 20 extra sets.
So in the end, this solution allowed us to fully produce and ship the project without upholstering it and then did the upholstering in the field..
The Nelson Collection
The Nelson Collection features sofa and chairs with fully replaceable velcro covers.