American University of Sharjah joins 'tiny house' movement
Faculty and students at American University of Sharjah (AUS) have unveiled a ‘Tiny House’ on campus, a structure part of the architectural and social movement that advocates living simply in small homes
Faculty and students at American University of Sharjah (AUS) have unveiled a ‘Tiny House’ on campus, a structure part of the architectural and social movement that advocates living simply in small homes.
Tiny Houses offer enormous potential globally, as urbanisation rates increase and housing space comes at a premium in many of the world’s cities.
At just 18m2, the AUS Tiny House uses substantially less resources than typical houses in developed countries.
The house has also been outfitted with a number of innovations that keep water and energy use to a minimum and reduce its overall carbon footprint, including light-weight panel walls (low cement content with high insulation and fire resistance values), sensor faucets, and grey water reuse.
Future plans include solar power on a movable shade, geo-thermal cooling, and a composting toilet.
The project has also served as an excellent learning opportunity for AUS students, who have been closely involved in overcoming many of the practical challenges encountered during the construction.
Despite the number of people per household declining in the USA over recent decades, house sizes have increased dramatically.
The cost of housing relative to average incomes has also risen significantly, isolating many Americans from the dream of home ownership. The Tiny House movement serves as a backlash to these trends, demonstrating that sustainable and comfortable home ownership can be achieved.
Dr Robert J. Houghtalen, head of the Department of Civil Engineering at AUS, said: “Civil engineering students often produce designs and reports for their senior projects; they rarely build what they design.
“When our students constructed the Tiny House, they saw how easily design mistakes can be made as contractors try to assemble a structure from building plans.
“In addition, the students felt a sense of accomplishment by promoting small-space, low-cost, sustainable living as a solution to the world’s housing challenges.”
The Tiny House will remain in the AUS outdoor lab, with students from across the university using it as a space to test new ideas and innovations, shaping what sustainably driven living of the future may look like.