Tiny house, big impact


Upper School boys are building a tiny house, which will eventually go to the Georgetown Nickelsville Encampment in Seattle. Photo by Jade Cheatham

Jade Cheatham

Since January, Annie Wright Upper School boys have been building a Tiny House next to the Kemper Center as a six month project for their Architecture and Design course.

Before the building process began, the boys studied  the causes of homelessness and the needs of the homeless. The goal for the project was to be able to connect to the community by helping out the homeless, which is a large issue in Seattle and an increasing one in Tacoma. Once completed, the tiny house will go to Georgetown Nickelsville Encampment, one of a series of homeless encampments that have been sanctioned by Seattle since 2015.

The boys visited Georgetown Nickelsville, which is a community of tiny houses for people who are unable to afford the rising housing prices in Seattle. At Nickelsville, the boys were able to interview some of the residents  to create an effective and sustainable house for someone to live in. During this process, the boys studied the homelessness experience to figure out the needs of the residents and used this knowledge to their house accordingly.

“My favorite part of building the tiny house is knowing that it will be someone’s home one day, and that it will hopefully make a difference in someone’s life,” freshman Parker Briggs said.

While building the house, advisor Joe Romano said that the boys didn’t have much initial training on how to use the tools before starting to build the house. There were many building skills the boys had to acquire as they moved on in the creation process. “The participants are more adept at using tools about making measurements, and putting things together using nail guns,” Romano said.

Freshman Eli Dugan said, “My favorite part of the building process so far has actually been the same as my favorite element of the design process, which is the highly precise nature of the project. I personally am inclined to pursue things that require a high degree of precision, so naturally I enjoyed making uber-detailed sketches and drawings of the house while we were still in the design process.”

Next year Joe Romano will lead a design activity for the Upper School for Girls, where the participants will be able to choose what they want to build.