The Tiny House – a striking new eco-pod designed by students from the University of Plymouth – has been unveiled on the Dartington estate in South Devon.
Created using materials from the 1,200-acre estate, the building has also been finished to a high standard by the students in conjunction with the Dartington Hall Trust’s own craft education programme.
The project is led by the University’s Head of Architecture and Built Environment Simon Bradbury and the Trust’s Craft Learning Programme Manager Lou Rainbow, as part of a longer-term ambition to support students’ learning in sustainable education through direct experience of making.
As such, it goes beyond them simply creating the design for the project, as they were also involved in all aspects of the building process, translating their visions into a product that will form part of the estate’s new camping facilities.
For this year, second and third-year students were set the task of designing a structure that should embody the values and principles of the estate’s emerging vision and strategy, and be an exemplar in sustainable construction and positively contribute to its surroundings.
Eleven teams of students from the BA (Hons) Architecture and BA (Hons) Architecture Technology and the Environment courses took part, and work to build the eco-pod began in October.
Since then around 140 students have been involved in constructing the Tiny House, which was completed in January, with the finished design being unveiled at the end of February.
Explaining the idea behind the partnership, Simon Bradbury said:
“We were really keen that our students get the opportunity to not only design projects but have the experience of seeing them from conception right through to completion. Because they are in the whole process, the students are able to see the consequences of their early design decisions providing a really hands-on learning experience you cannot replicate in the studio. The project has already had a noticeable impact on the students’ work, both on the new designs they are producing but also in allowing them to learn to work as a team and in a professional group.”
Lou Rainbow added:
“We’re thrilled to have been able to work with the next generation of young architects to build the first Tiny Home at Dartington. The partnership project embodies the Trust’s new strategy to experiment with ways to live a many-sided life, and draws on the Trust’s rich craft education history of ‘learning by doing’. The students have created a building that is profoundly of this place – with beautiful views of night skies and the land, and with the warmth and comfort of materials grown on that land.”