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SEQUELS: YEAR IN REVIEW

Modern in miniature: Students aim for big ideas with tiny cabins

By Lisa Boone

8:00 AM PST, December 28, 2012

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In the spring we followed students in the Woodbury School of Architecture’s Design/Build program as they created miniature cabins using components from store-bought sheds. This last semester, another set of students were given 10-by-10-foot sheds from Home Depot and CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions for building) from professors Jeanine Centuori and Sonny Ward. Teams also were given a theme — performance, music, games, therapy or dining — for each of five cabins, which will be used as part of a therapy program at the Shadow Hills Riding Club.

PHOTOS: Mini Modernism, Part 2: Tiny student-built cabins

“Once again, they were pushed to use traditional materials in different ways,” Ward said.

The cabins, completed last week, are creative delights and reflect the students’ inventive use of space and inexpensive materials. Pleated Tyvek and recycled vinyl baseboards were used as striking exterior siding. For the performance cabin, students turned the shed roof on its side to create a shell that works as a miniature amphitheater. Equally elegant is a white screen hovering over the pink dining cabin, providing shade in hot summer months.

Shadow Hills Riding Club program director Johnny Higginson hopes to have sleeping quarters for 16 teachers-in-training plus a kitchen and bathrooms, eventually. In the meantime, he said, the cabins’ outrageous colors and shapes are “like a huge art project.”

As a teacher and an architect, Centuori liked the prospect of visitors coming to the equestrian center for one reason and discovering something else along the way.

“I wonder,” she said, “if it might get the people who stay here talking about architecture?”

lisa.boone@latimes.com