This project was the first semester of the second year undergraduate design studio (Fall 2015) within the IAPD program at Kansas State. The work was completed after an introductory project (exploring Path, Procession and Place) within the residential studio. The project engaged the students in the development of the students design process while also engaging in the education of basic light frame construction. Each student developed a tiny house on a trailer (observing that there is a diversity of types for this building typology). Students were expected to do outside research on the topic, its typical occupants (design addresses the need), as well as begin to interrogate construction types and methods for home. This represents the first interior architectural spatial project the students engaged in the curriculum.
Students, who haled typically from a suburban background, were asked to (re)define home in this project. The intention was to force engagement in an ongoing discourse connected to our culture’s assumptions, consumption, spatial needs vs. requirements, sense of community, etc., the list goes on. Acknowledging that students must learn to look at things in a different way and to question why things are in order to assemble them in a most effective and efficient way. This is part of the role of the designer; that we can see the relationships between cultural elements, harness them and, with work and insight, develop them further along a trajectory.
As a professor, I provided students with baseline research to get the project moving. Students were expected to do research on their own that explored the needs of users and construction methodologies (texts were also provided for the later). This was outlined for the students as an important dimension in developing design processes, as doing research lays the ground work of good decision making in the design process.