Yale Students Complete Jim Vlock First Year Building Project

Yale Students Complete Jim Vlock First Year Building Project

First-year students at the Yale School of Architecture have completed a three-unit home in New Haven as part of the annual Jim Vlock First Year Building Project.

The house is the third in a series designed and built in collaboration with Columbus House, a New Haven-based homelessness services provider. Each of the three units will be a new home for an area family formerly experiencing homelessness.

This year’s project takes inspiration from New Haven’s traditional housing stock. In particular, the triple-decker—a type of house divided into three stacked units—provides the DNA of the design and allows it to fit in harmoniously with its neighbors by matching their silhouette and setback from the street.

The apartments each have the same floor plan, including a living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and porch/balcony, but are rotated to allow entrance from a common entry staircase as it moves up through the structure. The rotation of the stacked units also allows for acoustic separation for rooms that might be in use at certain parts of the day.

The large porch spaces provide generous views out over the backyard and street but are screened with wooden slats to protect residents from being overly visible, a primary concern discovered during student interviews with New Haveners dealing with homelessness.

The roof of the house was specially designed with the optimum slope and orientation to take advantage of solar radiation. A photovoltaic array provided by New Haven Community Solar generates low-cost and sustainable power.

2019 marks the 52nd year of the Building Project, founded by former School of Architecture dean Charles Moore and named in 2009 for Jim Vlock. Since 1989, the Building Project has provided housing for over 50 New Haven families.

Each year students in the first-year of the School’s professional degree program work in teams to design proposals for the project, one of which is then selected for further development and construction. The School of Architecture and Columbus House held an open house for the 2019 Jim Vlock Building Project on September 23, 2019.

In addition to the many generous in-kind donations, the Yale School of Architecture’s Jim Vlock First Year Building Project is supported by the Jim Vlock First Year Building Project Endowment, the Avangrid Foundation, the Marshall Ruben & Carolyn Greenspan First Year Building Project Fellowship, the Charles W. Moore Building Program Fund, and the Tai Soo Kim First Year Building Project Fellowship.