Since 1967, first-year Yale architecture students have designed and built buildings to better the community — and last year’s project was a stellar showing in affordable housing. For the 2017 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project, students completed a 1,000-square-foot home that explores cost-efficient and flexible design. Constructed in New Haven’s Upper Hill neighborhood, the dwelling was created to provide shelter for the homeless.


standing seam roof 2017 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project

cedar clad 2017 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project

The 1,000-square-foot house for the homeless is a handsome prefabricated structure clad in cedar and topped with a standing-seam metal gable roof. According to the project statement, students were “challenged to develop a cost-efficient, flexible design that tackles replicability in material, means, and method of construction.” The house comprises two separate dwellings: one is a studio, while the other is a two-bedroom apartment with built-in storage.

housing for homeless 2017 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project

prefab exterior 2017 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project

Related: Washington D.C. architect wants to shelter the homeless in decommissioned subway cars

The project also marked the first partnership between the Yale School of Architecture and the non-profit Columbus House, an organization that has been providing solutions to homelessness in the New Haven area since 1982. The house was the 50th Jim Vlock First Year Building. For the 2018 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project, the Yale School of Architecture will partner with SmartLam, the first manufacturer of cross-laminated timber in the U.S., which will provide CLT panels for the construction of a two-family home for the homeless.

+ Jim Vlock First Year Building Project

Images by Haylie Chan and Zelig Fok

airy interior 2017 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project

staircase 2017 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project