Video: New spin on homework, smart tiny houses built by high schoolers

Tiny Homes Showcase home. Image: Digitized House
Tiny Homes Showcase home. Image: Digitized House

With much of the buzz around the tiny house movement focused on start-ups making their plays in the micro-housing ecosystem, high school students at the Construction Careers Academy outside of San Antonio, Texas, are quietly going about designing and building their own genre of smart and sustainable housing. The 4-year premier magnet school is a highlight of the Northside Independent School District (NISD), and serves up a curriculum designed to prepare graduates for jobs in the construction industry or preparation for continuing their studies in higher education. The institution’s mission, according to NISD: “To provide an advanced and rigorous curriculum with a focus on construction technology, construction management, architectural design, applied engineering, and real-world experience that will prepare students for studies in higher education and/or a career in a construction-related industry.”

Evidence of the seriousness of their mission is not hard to find. At the recent Rainwater Revival + Hill Country Living Festival in nearby Dripping Springs, Texas, the students had a prime example of their handiwork on display. In our walk-around video from that event, you can see the high level of design and build quality inherent in these scholarly tiny homes. More of these homes will be on display in the upcoming Tiny Homes Showcase on May 19, 2018, which will be held at the schoolyard just before the spring semester comes to a close.

These tiny homes are built on 20 to 28-foot custom trailers to make them easily mobile. Image: Digitized House
These tiny homes are built on 20 to 28-foot custom trailers to make them easily mobile. Image: Digitized House
Interiors feature a combination living/sleeping area with generous natural daylighting. Image: Digitized House
Interiors feature a combination living/sleeping area with generous natural daylighting. Image: Digitized House
A full bath and kitchen make these small homes practical, while a half-vaulted ceiling makes them live larger. Image: Digitized HouseA full bath and kitchen make these small homes practical, while a half-vaulted ceiling makes them live larger. Image: Digitized House
A full bath and kitchen make these small homes practical, while a half-vaulted ceiling makes them live larger. Image: Digitized House
Thick 2x6 walls and well-tailored architectural details set these micro homes apart. Image: Digitized House
Thick 2×6 walls and well-tailored architectural details set these micro homes apart. Image: Digitized House

These homes are a maximum of 224 square feet, and are constructed on mobile custom trailers ranging from 20 to 20 feet. With a shell designed around 2×6 framing and spray foam insulation rated at R-25, the homes are energy efficient and feature integrated HVAC units, standing-seam metal roofs, solar arrays, and smart-home technology. And to make these homes an easy sell to area residents, the homes are fully compliant with San Antonio’s residential building code.

More about this topic:

San Antonio Northside ISD Construction Careers Academy website

Digitized.House Magazine

Tom Kolnowski
About Tom Kolnowski 154 Articles
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC and Digitized House Magazine, and has enjoyed a career in hi-tech, publishing, marketing, and creative roles—including 10 years as head of global content publishing at a leading hi-tech firm. He lives and works in Austin, Texas.