Students gathered in The Nest to engage in a creative-thinking workshop led by Addison Godine ’07, a member of Getaway, a Boston-based startup that builds tiny houses for people who want to escape city life.
Before the start of the activity, students got in pairs and each person attempted to design and build a paper 3-D model of their partner’s ideal house. They were given a finite amount of time to complete the activity in five design-thinking stages: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test.
“It’s going to be really fast paced. You’re not going to feel like you have time to perfect all the steps. That’s going to be part of it,” said Godine before beginning the activity.
In the first two stages, pairs interviewed each other to determine what their partner was looking for in their ideal homes. The general questions posed were about the location, purpose, and activities the client wished to engage in these homes.
In the following two stages, partners sketched sample homes and discussed the methods of improvement. Eventually, a final design was determined. In the last stage, pairs attempted to create a 3-D model of their homes using only paper, paper clips, scissors, and tape.
Darcy Burnham ’18, an attendee of Godine’s workshop, said, “I really liked how much he emphasized the importance of getting feedback from your customer. The stages included several conversations with the [clients] to get a deep understanding of what [they] want. In addition, I loved how, during the prototyping stage, he advised us to not get attached to one specific design, but instead create multiple designs and combine the best features of each.”
Though a little more complicated in reality, Godine and fellow members of Getaway follow a similar process when designing actual tiny houses.
Thus far, Getaway has designed and manufactured three tiny houses outside of Boston. Each house offers an escape from the chaos of everyday life.
“Our tiny houses are located in the woods, so it’s nice for people to get away from the urban grind. They actually have limited cell phone service, so you really do feel separated from work and other social distractions, or whatever else it may be, and all your social media feeds,” said Godine in his presentation.
While the tiny houses are only about 160-square-feet large, they offer all the necessities provided by larger homes.
“They all offer a kitchen, a place for at least two people to sleep, some kind of eating area, electricity [and a] hot shower,” said Godine.
Most clients stay in the tiny houses for one to two nights. Getaway is already 80 percent to 90 percent booked through the summer.
“I think the majority of clients are in one of two camps: either it’s a couple from the city looking to get away, maybe on a romantic weekend. The other client [groups are] people who are really interested in tiny house living and want to test it out,” said Godine.
In addition to its three existing tiny houses, Getaway plans to continue expanding.
“Getaway is expanding to New York state next. The houses will be located near New York City, and I think there are plans in the works to make some in San Francisco as well,” said Godine.