Tiny Student Housing Experiment in Atlanta

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Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has successfully completed their next generation urban housing design project, which involved repurposing an abandoned parking deck by turning it into affordable student housing. This was done through designing and constructing several tiny houses on the top deck of the parking garage, which are known as SCADPads. The units are to be officially launched on April 9, 2014.

The SCADPads were designed by a team of 75 SCAD students and faculty from across various academic disciplines in an effort to create affordable, sustainable and comfortable housing for students. Each of the SCADPad micro units is only the size of a single parking space, namely 135 square feet. The students who will occupy the experimental units, will move in after the launch and share their lives in the micro homes through blogs, tweets and videos.

Each of the SCADPads is equipped with a number of sustainable and innovative features, such as 3D-printed toilets, greywater gardens, custom-designed furniture, as well as many other typical urban living amneties. Despite the very small living area of each SCADPad is equipped with a full sized bathroom with shower, a living area with a bed and desk, as well as ample storage space and a convertible daybed that functions as a sofa and a spare bed.

The final design will be revealed at the launch, but from the pictures it appears that The SCADPads are build of wood and mounted on top of trailers. They can be hauled by a car, which means that they could, conceivably, be transported anywhere, and not have to remain in place on the roof of the parking deck in Atlanta. Judging from the plans, there is no kitchen in the micro houses, though a portable stove and small fridge would probably fit inside the living area. One of the ends of the SCADPad, as well as about one third of one longer wall, are fitted with large windows to maximize daylighting.

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The SCADPads will be arranged on the top deck of the parking garage, where there will also be a communal area for the inhabitants of the micro units. Since urban space is at a premium, while more and more people flock to the cities daily, the SCADPad could prove an innovative solution to the student housing problem. Similar student housing projects have sprung up all over the world in recent years, and there is little reason to think that the idea of micro units won’t be as successful in the US as it was elsewhere.


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