NEW HAVEN, CT/August 21, 2018 – Students from Yale School of Architecture are putting the finishing touches on a two-family home in New Haven that will provide permanent housing for community members experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
The students built the duplex with items donated by several businesses, including The BILCO Company, which is based in New Haven. BILCO donated a basement door with a powder coat finish to the project, which broke ground in May. An open house to showcase the finished product is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 24.
First-year students at the Yale School of Architecture have worked collaboratively to design and build a structure as part of their graduate education. The students are partnering with Columbus House, a non-profit organization working to end homelessness in New Haven. The students and Columbus House are in the second year of a five-year partnership to build two-unit homes that will accommodate a small family and an individual.
This year’s project at 43 Button St. is located in The Hill section of New Haven, and is about 1.5 miles from the Yale campus. On the project website, the six-student team whose design was selected for the project said their unit “explores the parallel between joinery and cohabitation, proposing a dwelling that unites separate units within a single envelope, while still allowing each family to maintain autonomy. Cross-laminated timber forms the internal separation, extending into the landscape to integrate the house with its surroundings.”
Students who submitted the winning design are Emily Cass, Rachel LeFevre, Thomas Mahon, Christine Pan, Lisette Valenzuela and Paul Wu. Ten teams submitted designs. The entire 60-member class worked on various sections of the house. During the summer, 14 students have worked daily to complete the structure. Page Comeaux and Katie Lau served as the Project Managers. Students on the team come from nearby towns in Connecticut, such as Branford, Cos Cob and Hartford, other United States cities and towns and as far away as Paris, Tokyo and Beijing.
“The building project is purposefully an opportunity for students to work with a team and develop coordination skills,’’ the project managers wrote on the website. “Unlike at a firm, everyone on a building project team has equal design power and ownership of the project. The object of the building project is as much about learning how to be a member of a productive team as it is about creating a design proposal.”
Students completed the project with materials donated from more than 40 businesses. BILCO donated a gray basement door with a powder coat finish. BILCO, a national leader in specialty access products, has been in business since 1926. Polyester resin provides a durable, weather-resistant coating. Cured at higher temperatures than most wet coatings, the result is a durable and chip-resistant coating, providing a decorative and protective finish.
Since 1967, the Yale School of Architecture has offered first-year students the chance to design and build a structure as part of their graduate education. The program is mandatory for all members of the class. Charles W. Moore, who headed Yale’s Department of Architecture from 1965-71, started the first building project with faculty member Kent Bloomer. In the midst of student unrest of the 1960s, he saw the project as a way for students to commit to positive social action by building for the poor. Previous projects have been built in Appalachia and elsewhere in Connecticut. The project in 2017 was a 1,000 square foot house with two units that was built in New Haven’s Upper Hill neighborhood at the corner of Adeline and Eddy Streets.