The tiny house trend is on the rise and with a little help from their friends at Merit Construction in Cedar Rapids, Kirkwood co-op students have taken it to the next level by creating tiny office spaces out of shipping containers.

Eric Heisdorffer, building manager at Merit Construction, said the idea came about when the company was trying to find a way to get high school students more involved in the trades as well as solve a problem of not having an office space for crew members.

“We talked about it and decided we could just buy these containers and then we get doors and windows put in and turn them into office pods,” he said.

The containers are 8-feet-by-20-feet and donated to the school with all necessary supplies inside. The students, who are registered at their respective high schools but take classes at Kirkwood for college credit, then add insulation, electric work, walls and flooring to create an office space fit for a supervisor who might need one on a construction site.

There are no blueprints or specific design elements the class of nine has to follow, they just create the space to be sound, comfortable and efficient. The students are split into groups to work together to problem solve and each learn a new trade along the way.

The class, Intro to ACE (architecture, construction, engineering) is split up into four, eight-week sessions and meets for an hour-and-a-half five days a week. Each session is dedicated to a different element of the class with the office being the big project they spend approximately eight weeks on.

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