Since it’s conception in 1967, the Jim Vlock First Year Building Project has offered generations of Yale architecture students the opportunity to engage directly with the physical, constructed reality of their intellectual design pursuits and commit to positive social action within the built environment. The First Year class is divided into teams, and throughout the spring semester develops a series of design proposals. Ultimately, one proposal is selected and developed through classwork into a full-scale deliverable. With varying programmatic requirements throughout the program’s 53-year history, recent iterations have focused on affordable housing in New Haven’s economically-distressed neighborhoods.
The 2019 Building Project continues a collaboration between the Yale School of Architecture and Columbus House, a non-profit organization that provides solutions to homelessness in the New Haven area. Columbus House provides emergency shelters, in addition to a range of housing and services designed to assist those experiencing or at risk of homelessness to make steps towards housing independence.
This year’s prompt invited the design of a single, three-unit dwelling to be located in New Haven’s Hill neighborhood. Each proposal tackled challenges of concise residential footprints and replicability, as well as issues of urban infill and affordable, stick-frame construction.