Columbus College of Art & Design Student Turns Shipping Container into Tiny Home
CCAD student Tobias Katz at work on turning a shipping container into a tiny home. Photo credit: CCAD student Gail Shamon (Industrial Design, 2017)
COLUMBUS, Ohio — When Columbus College of Art & Design student Tobias Katz set out to develop his senior thesis project, he knew three things:
- Tiny homes are a big deal.
- People tend to outgrow traditional wood-frame tiny homes because they aren’t adaptable.
- Millions of shipping containers sit empty across the U.S.
So, Katz set out to turn a shipping container into a customizable tiny home — all before his 22nd birthday.
The end result is a 160-square foot fully furnished unit that will be unveiled on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at Chroma: Best of CCAD, a free annual event that showcases top student work across the public.
In addition to serving as his senior thesis project, the tiny home doubles as a prototype for a business that Katz plans to launch called Katz Box.
“I want to be someone who creates large disruptive change for positive good,” Katz said. “I didn’t want to just create one tiny house. I wanted to create a tiny house for everyone.”
Katz’s plan is for each home to be highly customizable — allowing people to easily tack on additions and make changes in the home’s footprint — so that the homes can grow to fit the needs of their owners.
“Tiny homes can work but they have to be smarter and they have to be adaptable,” he said.
Katz, an Industrial Design major and Interior Design minor at CCAD, has impressed faculty at the college, including Tom Gattis, Dean of CCAD’s School of Design Arts.
“Millennials and Gen Z think differently about home ownership. They want to be more mobile, and Toby has tapped into that movement,” Gattis said. “Plus, it’s impressive that he chose to design and build a tiny house for his senior project.”
Katz’s professors weren’t the only people impressed by his work. Companies from Ohio-based Airstream to Australia-based Lev Tec donated everything from the appliances and kitchen sink to tools to help him lay tile. Overall, he secured more than $25,000 in donations, from the shipping container down to the screws.
Katz, who grew up in Pickerington, Ohio, just outside of Columbus, came to CCAD, initially thinking he’d study jewelry. But his interest in mass production and design instead led him to industrial design and eventually the tiny home he’s creating.
“I’ve learned a lot here,” Katz said. “It’s given me the opportunity to work at the industry-level. And I don’t think any other school besides CCAD would have given me that.”
Work in progress: the inside of CCAD student Tobias Katz's tiny home. Photo credit: CCAD student Gail Shamon (Industrial Design, 2017)
Work in progress: the outside of CCAD student Tobias Katz's tiny home. Photo credit: CCAD student Gail Shamon (Industrial Design, 2017)
Follow Katz's progress on Instagram. And come see the unveiling of Katz's tiny home at Chroma: Best of CCAD on Wednesday, May 10, from 5 to 9 p.m. at CCAD. The free annual campus-wide event showcases the best of CCAD’s artists and designers across all majors. For more information, visit ccad.edu/chroma.
About Columbus College of Art & Design
Columbus College of Art & Design teaches undergraduate and graduate students in the midst of a thriving creative community in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1879, CCAD is one of the oldest private, nonprofit art and design colleges in the United States, offering 12 four-year undergraduate programs and two graduate programs in art and design that produce graduates equipped to shape culture and business at the highest level. For more information, visit ccad.edu.
Senior Media Relations Specialist
Columbus College of Art & Design