Hopping on the tiny house and living pod bandwagon, the Savannah College of Art & Design will unveil their answer to urban living in tight spaces at an invitation-only reception and tour (request an invitation) on April 9 at the school’s Atlanta campus. In the parking deck, SCAD students and alumni have created three SCADpads, microhomes measuring 135 square feet each—the size of a single parking space—where volunteer students will live this spring.
“This is a great experiment to figure out what’s really necessary and what we really need to survive, to live in the future,” says Michael Felix, an industrial design professor, in a video on the project’s website.
Seventy-five graduate and undergraduate students, 12 faculty members and 11 academic programs in Savannah and Atlanta teamed up to create the compact houses. The planning began last summer in building-arts classes, and in the fall the technical details were hashed out. Dozens of working artists have pitched in not only to make the spaces livable but to make them unique. This includes leather and mixed-media ceilings and walls by Marcus Kenney, external geometric walls by Will Penny, an illustrated bathroom by Katherine Sandoz, flooring by Morgan Dewey, interactive technology by Kevin Lee, and laser-cut acrylic panels by Josh Snodgras, to name a few.
“Students were really freaked out or really excited about the amount of space in the pod itself—in the living unit,” says Sheila Edwards, a professor of furniture design, in an online video. “Inspired by the conviction of the tiny-house movement in general, they feel compelled to honor the movement and the principles by bringing in as much to the design as possible.”
The project has been a loosely guarded secret, with participants under orders not to talk about it even as SCAD was posting teasers on social media and students were grumbling about reduced parking when this quarter’s classes started on March 17. Two floors of the parking deck have been closed, causing frustration and tardiness. Advertisements about the project are now all over the Atlanta campus.
This short-term discomfort is for a greater good, according to Paula Wallace, SCAD cofounder and president. She says, “It seemed like a perfect moment to pose a solution that can hopefully be embodied in communities around the world and start a conversation that other people will engage in.”
Jennifer Jefferson is in the graduate writing program at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta.