Construction Science Students Building a “Tiny House” as Part of Their Construction Fundamentals Lab

During the Spring 2019 semester, 36 students from the Haskell and Irene Lemon Division of Construction Science designed and built a “tiny house” as part of their Construction Fundamentals Lab. The course used a hands-on approach that taught students the foundational skills necessary to complete a real-world construction project. It is designed to help students get familiar with the vibe of a job site, giving them confidence and helping them to develop their problem-solving skills.

The 160-square-foot house was built on a trailer in the Creating_Making Lab. Construction spanned the course of 10 weeks.

“This year, we wanted to shrink the scope of the project so that it was more manageable,” said instructor Bryan Bloom.

For 2018’s design-build project, students helped build two affordable housing duplexes in the Norman area. Students in 2019’s course were able to take ownership of the entire process, from designing the house, to selecting materials, to actually putting it all together and building it.

Students spent the first five weeks of the semester developing the design of the house and planning the project. In the third week, teams presented their concepts and then came up with a final design as a class. This process helped the students grow their design skills, getting Construction Science students more familiar with the design side of projects. A local architecture practice donated its design services to the GCA for the second year in a row.

They then spent the next few weeks discussing which materials and systems would work best for the design. Construction began in week six.

“They’re excited about how much they’re doing,” says Bloom, “for a lot of them, this is their first time on a job site. I think a lot of them were surprised by how much we got done just in that first day.”

The house was auctioned off at the end of the semester, with the money from the sale going back in to the program to support next year’s project.