Art, engineering, and Tiny House

My name is Ryan Daniels, and I am one of several students helping with the construction of Sparty's Cabin. I am also photographing the build.

March 18, 2016

Ryan Daniels (photo right), Civil Engineering student, working with other studetns on the Sparty's Cabin build

By: Ryan Daniels, Civil Engineering student

My name is Ryan Daniels and I am one of several students helping with the construction of “Sparty’s Cabin,” and I am also photographing the build. I came to the project with a unique background as I am currently a junior in the Civil Engineering Program, but also have a degree in Studio Art from MSU. As an artist, one of my many interests includes creating functional works of art from found or repurposed objects. I have also done some research on tiny houses, and have seriously considered living in one some day. So, when I found out about the project earlier this semester, I was eager to learn more.

I wasn’t part of the planning of the project, so I really had no idea what to expect when I volunteered to get involved. Now, having seen the plans, I am excited to see the build come together. My hope from the beginning has been that this project would allow me to further develop my skills as an artist and an engineering student, and to meet like-minded people in the process. Some of the best relationships I developed over the years have come from my involvement in extracurricular groups and activities. Although we are only a few weeks into the build, everyone has been extremely enthusiastic and great to work with.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this project is the educational value it brings to anyone involved in the process, from planning to building. In my experience, nothing compares to learning by doing. You gain an intimate knowledge of a process and the intricacies involved, and you become invested in the project’s success. For “Sparty’s Cabin,” some students will also have an opportunity to help manage individual work crews on portions of the build. This is a terrific opportunity to take on a leadership role, something that is a valuable experience to draw on regardless what career a student may choose. 
The recent “Tiny Home Movement” has provided a lot of exposure to alternative living spaces and this is an amazing opportunity to learn about it firsthand. I don’t think tiny homes are for everyone, but I would encourage people to explore exactly what size living space they truly need. When it is finished, Sparty’s Cabin will be a great resource to show people the many benefits of smaller living spaces and just how unique and beautiful they can be, while still providing all the necessities.

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