The tiny house movement is partly a response to the Great Recession, as people looked for smaller, more affordable forms of housing. Back in the Great Depression, Frank Lloyd Wright came up with the Usonian House as a response- smaller and more affordable houses that he thought would be snapped up by the middle class.
William Wesley (Wes) Peters was a disciple of Wright’s, and built what may be the prototype Usonian tiny house in Evansville, Indiana, 552 square foot little diamond, described by Patrick Sisson in Curbed:
This eccentric cottage and proto-tiny house offers perhaps the earliest example of Usonian-style architecture, a vision of residential construction and planning for the common man that was a passion of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Interestingly, Peters was only in private practice for a few years; according to Sisson, Wright did not approve of Peters relationship with his daughter Svetlana. He later relented to it and Peters came back to become Wright’s right hand man, working on Fallingwater and finishing the Guggenheim.
The 22 year old architect started out the way many do: a little help from the bank of mom and dad to build a house on spec to showcase his practice. Sisson talks to architect Adam Green, who is working on the preservation of the house:
What blows me away is that Peters was 22 when he did this. It’s a bold step to take, to invest in yourself. He’d just got his architectural license, and just walked away from this great position. This is a bold decision for a young man just starting his career to make.