While most bus conversions cover up the existing windows to make the most of the space, architecture student Hank Butitta took a different approach, leaving them open while installing multi-purpose, transforming built-ins for a bright and highly functional interior. Documenting the process on his website ‘Hank Bought a Bus,‘ Butitta created a 225-square-foot tiny house packed with plenty of places to sleep, lounge, work and cook.
For his Masters Final Project, Butitta wanted an opportunity to explore the details of a full-scale building project in a physical, hands-on way. While bus conversions are nothing new, he saw potential to craft the interior in a way that hasn’t been done before.
Purchasing the bus on Craigslist for $3,000, Butitta spent another $6,000 stripping the bus down, installing electrical wiring, adding plywood walls and building out all of the furniture. Since the windows are all evenly spaced, he used them to create modular units of 28 inches square, grouped into four primary zones: bathroom, kitchen, seating and sleeping.
Twin beds toward the front of the bus can be folded out for additional sleeping space, and conceal storage for clothes and shoes. Bench seating in the center also folds out into a large lounge area that can accommodate groups. Translucent insulated panels pull up from behind the built-in furniture to cover the windows when needed, and the emergency hatches were converted to skylights. Dimmable rope lighting was installed where the walls meet the curing ceiling.
The whole process took about 15 weeks to complete. Says Butitta, “I also thought it was important to demonstrate the value of full scale iteration in architectural eduction. There are too many architecture students who don’t understand basic physical limitations of materials or how they can be joined. This project was a way to show how building a small structure withs imple detailing can be more valuable than drawing a complex project that is theoretical and poorly understood.”