Two City College of New York architecture students are using their design skills to support social good in Peru. Michele Flournoy and Tiffany Kimmel, third-year graduate students at the Spitzer School of Architecture, turned an independent study project into an opportunity to build the roofing structure of what will be The Yantalo Volunteer House, an ecologically sound community residence for hospital volunteers working in a rural Peru community. Slated to open later this year, the house uses local materials and features innovative sustainable building techniques – like a roof designed for water recapture and reuse – that will serve as a model for future development in the surrounding area.


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“Michele and Tiffany’s approach to the project has both a strong design and social agenda,” explained faculty advisor Professor Christian Volkmann who oversaw the independent study project. “They designed and detailed with me a beautiful two-story structure with a butterfly-shaped roof that can collect rainwater for domestic and local farming purposes.”

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Located in northern Peru, the Yantalo House will be constructed as a two-story building with two one-story buildings around it. With a total of 7 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, the housing complex will host 15 volunteers – an amalgamation of doctors, nurses and educators – who will share living and common spaces.

Once completed, the low-maintenance home, a project of the Yantalo International Volunteer Organization, will encompass a number of sustainable elements within its physical structure as well as incorporated into the end use of the home. For example, the construction plan focuses on communal spaces as a reduction of impact on the land. Natural resources, such as sunlight, water and local labor, will be utilized. Solar energy will provide much of the needed electricity while storm and grey water will be reclaimed and treated. There will also be space for composting, community gardening and recycling. Local woods and organic corrugated roofing sheets resembling Spanish tile are also featured in the construction.

+ Yantalo Volunteer House

+ Spitzer School of Architecture at City College of New York