Since 1967, the Yale School of Architecture has offered its students the opportunity to design and build a structure as an integral part of their graduate education. Unique among architecture schools, the Jim Vlock First-Year Building Project is mandatory for all first-year graduate students.
This year, we are partnering with Neighbor Works New Horizons of New Haven, an organization committed to develop and operate affordable quality housing, and HTP Ventures LLC, a private equity firm interested in mass producing micro dwelling units. Our design work this semester is part of a continuing, long-term collaboration with the New Haven Livable City Initiative to develop the city's 100+ vacant sliver lots. A primary criterion of the selected design proposal will be its ability to be replicated across New Haven as a solution to the longstanding challenge of small, difficult-to-develop urban spaces. The City of New Haven has begun to develop a financial mechanism to fund this endeavor.
This year's house is an approximately 800 square foot dwelling at 179 Scranton Street in the West River neighborhood of New Haven. The house will be divided into one 500 sf unit for the homeowner and one 300 square foot unit for a tenant.
Students worked independently during the first half of the semester and are currently working in teams to develop seven design proposals. At the end of the semester, the entire class of 55 first-year graduate students will work together as a studio to build the selected house.
Each year, the Yale Building Project aims to deliver a high-quality house with state-of-the art building systems, carefully-considered details, and durable materials - all within a relatively low budget. Generous donations of materials, products, and services from a wide variety of local and national companies help make this possible.