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Little House at Alfred U. Teaches About Sustainability

Graceland
Ann Holley’s 125-square-foot house makes a statement about living on less. (Photograph courtesy Alfred U.)

Ann Holley, a graduate student in sculpture at Alfred University, arrived at the university this year with her own living quarters: ProtoHaus, a tiny house that she designed with her husband, Darren Macca, an industrial designer. The house, which was constructed in seven weeks over the summer, is about 22 feet by 8 feet and is set on a trailer for mobility.

“I spent most of the spring semester working on the plans and a proposal to the university to allow me to bring the house and park it here on campus,” Ms. Holley says. She says the university gave her a “great spot” on the campus at the edge of a residential neighborhood.

Ms. Holley says her work in sculpture strives to start conversations among people, and ProtoHaus is no exception. Built with natural and recycled materials, the house certainly makes a statement about living on less — you can pack only so much into 125 square feet. The house is powered in part through solar energy, and it has a composting toilet

The project is part of a miniature-house movement that has been highlighted in major newspapers and prominent books recently. If you’re interested, you might check out Shay Salomon’s book Little House on a Small Planet.

“The house is very comfortable though it is very small,” Ms. Holley says. “We are certainly not roughing it.”

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