Since 1967, first-year students at the Yale School of Architecture have worked collaboratively to design and build a structure as part of their graduate education. Unique among architecture schools, the Jim Vlock Building Project is a required component of Yale's curriculum. In recent years, the Building Project has focused on the design and construction of houses in New Haven's economically distressed neighborhoods.
For the second consecutive year, the Yale School of Architecture is partnering with NeighborWorks New Horizons, an organization dedicated to developing quality affordable housing, and HTP Ventures LLC, a private equity firm interested in the mass production of affordable dwelling units.
This year's brief targets a 1,000 square foot house to be located on a narrow sliver lot at 196 Winthrop Avenue in New Haven's West River neighborhood. Students are challenged to develop a cost-efficient and flexible design that addresses the unique challenges facing similar sliver sites in New Haven and other urban environments across the country.
During the first half of the spring semester, students work individually, each developing a prototype for the dwelling. Eight of these initial schemes are selected for further development, and the class is divided into teams, each team tasked with creating a final design proposal. At the end of the semester, one project is chosen and the entire class works together to build the selected design.