Students use the project to tackle the real problem of homelessness | UTSA today | UTSA
Architecture students submitted proposals, as they would in a professional setting for the chance to lead the design of the project. Some focused on creating a comfortable space while others committed to environmentally sustainable design, but all teams were asked to consider the adaptability of people with disabilities in their designs. Professors and industry professionals from various fields reviewed the designs to determine which would be developed into UTSA’s first tiny house.
The team focused on ADA-accessible design best practices for the 384-square-foot home, which they dubbed the Bento House. ADA-accessible countertops, storage, and sliding doors—a feature of efficiency given the limited space for door openings in the home—are all aspects the students considered during the process. Design. They are now waiting to begin construction, which they say will only take half a year.
“Having the opportunity to work independently on the design of a home, especially a tiny ADA-accessible home, has been a great experience,” Maredia said.
The UTSA Big Heroes Tiny Homes project is an example of the many hands-on learning opportunities available to students through the university’s Classroom to Career initiative, which integrates experiential learning, including internships, apprenticeships through service, undergraduate research, and study abroad to help students develop the soft and hard skills sought by employers. These hands-on learning experiences are especially important in linking success in the classroom to life after graduation for historically underserved populations such as UTSA’s diverse student body.
As part of its strategic plan, UTSA aims for 75% of its undergraduate students to participate in some type of experiential learning upon graduation.
“The coolest thing about this project is that it brings together the expertise of all these different majors,” Schaefer said. “When you enter the industry within your discipline, a big problem is that we don’t talk to each other or listen to each other. So for me, as a civil engineer, hearing about architectural design and construction challenges was cool to encounter so early in my career. »
The Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design encourages collaboration between students pursuing degrees in architecture, civil engineering, construction science and management, interior design and more to achieve project goals, including enriching students’ experience in interdisciplinary interactions to prepare them for work alongside various specialties in the post-graduation world.
Big Heroes Tiny Homes is a branded program that originally started with Humble ISD students in Houston, Texas. Dedicated to helping homeless veterans find shelter, the project has gained momentum nationwide, with UTSA being the first to adopt the project outside of Houston.
Since its launch last summer at UTSA, the program has empowered college students to invest in their community while working toward their desired career goals.