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Yale School of Architecture 2007 Building Project Is Dedicated


New Haven, Conn. — A new home in New Haven for a disabled war veteran and her family, designed and built by first year students of the Yale School of Architecture, will be dedicated at 33 Kossuth Street, on September 17, 5:30 p.m.

Now celebrating its 40th year, the renowned Yale School of Architecture First Year Building Project (FYBP) was the first design-build program in the U.S. offered as part of the curriculum to students of architecture. In the first two years of the program, which began under the direction of then chair of the Yale department of architecture, Charles Moore, Yale students traveled to New Zion, Kentucky, to build community structures they had designed together. Closer to home, the architecture students took on such projects as the restoration of the Wallingford train station, a camp pavilion for city children in Farnam and a transportable stage—still in use after 24 years—for the New Haven green.

In 1989, students at the School of Architecture teamed with Habitat for Humanity for their first residential project in New Haven: a two-family house on Hallock Street. Having joined with other non-profit affordable housing agencies over the years, the FYBP today takes credit for 18 houses— sold at below-market value to first-time home-owners—in diverse neighborhoods of New Haven.

Typically, the FYBP begins as a competition among all first-year students at the School of Architecture to design a residence at a specific site within certain dimensions and for a modest budget. Confronting such challenges as integrating a contemporary house into a traditional neighborhood and adapting to the peculiarities of the lot they have been given, five teams of about 10 students present their designs to critics, clients and neighborhood residents at the end of the term. The models are judged by criteria that include user-friendliness, suitability for the surroundings and elegance and economy of design.

This year, in addition to confronting the usual restrictions and challenges, students were charged to come up with a plan for a single-level home conforming to ADA standards with an attached rental unit.

Having partnered with the Neighborhood Housing Authority for many years to make the new house available at cost to a family that could not otherwise afford it, the students are working on this year’s project with the non-profit agency Common Ground Community, which describes itself as the “nation’s largest not-for-profit developer of supportive housing.”

Working with the Veterans Affairs Office, based in West Haven, Common Ground has expressly targeted female veterans for the type of two-family owner-renter residence the Yale students have designed.

Ground was broken for the 2007 project in May, with all the first year students helping in the construction. The building is expected to be completed this month. At the dedication on September 17, the keys to the new house will be symbolically transferred to the new owners.

Members of the news media are cordially invited to attend this historic event and reception.


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