Matt Battin is the principal of Urban Density Lab and a FEMA consultant
As an architect, designer, maker and nomad, the notion of compact mobile housing has interested me for quite a while. Be it prefab, site built, or mobile; efficient housing makes sense. My architectural practice, Urban Density Lab, is focused on expanding the urban experience through unique design and innovative problem solving, rather than a cramped alternative to suburban-style housing.
My first experience of a “tiny” house was at the age of 9 when my family moved from a typical Victorian house in inner city Cleveland, OH to a 14’ x 18’ stone cabin with no running water or electricity in the Adirondack Mountains in New York. The house was a single room living space with a loft area broken into 2 rooms running down half the house. We were a family of 5, so a second sleeping loft was added for me and my brother to share. For three years, 5 of us and a dog and a cat lived in under 400 square feet.
Informed by my living situation while young, I have since explored many components of small domestic projects. As a student in grad school, I worked with the Solar Decathlon team to design, construct and relocate a small house from Michigan to the National Mall in Washington DC. While the project took on multiple agendas, we set out to create a prototype that would inform future production of the house, thinking about opportunities to exploit digital fabrication, mass customization, as well as off-the-shelf systems. As faculty I led a design studio working on a narrow house project. Moreover, I have explored compact living through personal projects like my renovation of a ’74 Airstream Land Yacht travel trailer.
In addition to projects relating to small domestic spaces, I also have extensive experience in federal policy related to disaster recovery and housing. I look forward to advancing the exploration and design of the “tiny house” through my background in design, building technology, mobile domestic systems, “green” systems and materials knowledge.