Architects find big satisfaction in tiny house
Published June 2016
NDSU graduates Alex Gore and Lance Cayko are receiving big attention for the tiny house they designed and built. HGTV featured their 196-square-feet house, Atlas, in its "Tiny House, Big Living" series in 2015.
A tiny house is designed for people who are radical about downsizing. Gore and Cayko created a tiny house/RV hybrid when they put their tiny house on wheels.
They are examples of NDSU graduates who are doing innovative work throughout the nation.
Gore and Cayko started their own architecture firm, F9 Productions Inc. in Longmont, Colorado, in 2009. They’ve also designed larger projects, including single family homes, 24-unit complexes and 16-bed group homes for memory care patients.
Alex: Bachelor’s degree in environmental design, 2007;
master’s degree in architecture, 2008;
master’s degree in construction management, 2011
Lance: Bachelor’s degree in environmental design, 2007;
master’s degree in architecture, 2008
What is one of the most exciting things about your work?
Alex: I love being able to design, and be hands on building.
Lance: Waking up every day and looking forward to nearly infinite design opportunities.
How have NDSU mentors influenced you?
Alex: Mark Barnhouse and Cindy Urness have been a steady rock of advice and support throughout the years, even after college.
Lance: I second what Alex mentioned about Mark and Cindy. They are cornerstones of the program. We were even lucky enough to be invited to speak at NDSU and spend a night with them mentoring other students.
What is one of your favorite memories of NDSU?
Alex: That is hard to pick. I would say showing my schoolwork to friends, hanging out at studio, a party or a football game.
Lance: Being more intellectually fulfilled than any other time in my entire life. I became 100 percent consumed by my studies and do not regret a moment.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Alex: Designing and building Atlas, the tiny house. Starting a successful firm. Working in New York.
Lance: Starting an architecture firm from the ground up in the midst of the greatest recession the United States has ever known AND with zero clients. Since 2009 we have grown from two to eight employees and for that I am proud.
What are you passionate about?
Alex: I love when great design makes the world a better place.
Lance: I’m passionate about providing the other 98 percent with high-level architectural design at affordable rates.
What did your mom and dad think of your choice of major?
Alex: They knew since I was a kid, so it was no big surprise.
Lance: Not much. I was the first person in my entire family to pursue a four-year degree let alone a master’s degree.
How do you give back to NDSU?
Alex: We give financially, and I provide enthusiastic support at football games.
Lance: Our firm is a proud donor to the architecture program as of this year.
What advice would you give your 25-year-old self or an NDSU student studying in your field?
Alex: Always do your best work no matter what you are doing. Don’t let others drag you down. Boil your problems down to fundamental truths, and trust your solution.
Lance: Always take the high road even when others are pulling you down to the low road. Be courteous, kind and find strength in humility.