A great learning opportunity for students

My name is Xiao Hou, and I'm a senior landscape architecture student.

March 28, 2016

Xiao Hou, senior Landscape Architecture student, at the Sparty's Cabin build site

By: Xiao Hou

My name is Xiao Hou, and I’m a senior landscape architecture student. Being a student from Xi’an, China (It’s a big city that’s known for its thousands of years of history and Terra-cotta Warriors), I have only lived in high-rise apartments. After coming to the U.S. and living in East Lansing for more than three years, I’m still amazed by the way Americans live.

This project has challenged me to think more about the built environment. I hadn’t heard about the Tiny Home Movement until I started to get involved, but I do know what living small feels like. Some of my friends live in an apartment that’s about 800 square feet, but the landlord divided the apartment into six pods so that he can make more money, but in the mean time giving students a more affordable solution. There are also people who live in a dark basement or share a friend’s couch in a big city like Beijing. I think some people live tiny, because they don’t have a choice.

The other aspect of this project that surprised me is that students can be part of the building process. I’ve seen lots of Americans building things and fixing things in their garage, but we don’t have “garages” in China. This project has given me a hands-on experience. Now that I’ve seen how tools are used, I have gained more appreciation to the construction process. Being a student of landscape architecture, I should understand the importance of the design document, because contractors will build according to the plan. If there is an error, it will cause problems.

Building a tiny house is also an excellent opportunity to interact with other students, teachers and professionals, especially when they are from different fields. I think collaboration is vital for a project to succeed, and that is what the opportunity Sparty’s Cabin has given us. Plus, where's a better place to eat a Sparty’s donut?


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