Yale Exhibits House Built by Architecture Students
Yale University’s School of Architecture will dedicate a house designed and built by its students at 23 West Read Street in the Newhallville section of New Haven on September 15 at 5:30 p.m.
Mayor John DeStefano, Architecture Dean Robert A.M. Stern, and a representative from Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) – the local non-profit agency that commissioned the house – will speak. Pamela Joyce, the buyer, will also attend the dedication, which is open to the public.
Every year, students in the first year class at the Yale School of Architecture design and build a structure. For the past five years, they have created a one-family house that is sold at cost to a qualifying buyer.
“The first-year student project is a testimonial to the art of architecture as the art of building,” said Dean Robert A.M. Stern. “It provides unmatched ‘hands-on’ experience to the students. In addition, it is a meaningful opportunity for them to interact with their community.”
The Yale project “has become a high point in our yearly cycle,” said Henry Dynia, rehabilitation specialist and construction manager for NHS. “Every year, it gets better and better. We enjoy the contact with so many talented people-both on the faculty and students.”
Special features of this house include a custom-made walnut stairway and hand rail, bamboo flooring, ceramic-tiled kitchen counters, and what Dynia calls “a marvelous porch with a wide stairway that beckons to you.” The first floor has 10-foot high ceilings in the foyer and living room, an eat-in kitchen, a dining area and a half bath; upstairs are three bedrooms and a full bath. The ceiling of the master bedroom slopes up to over 12 feet, creating a soaring sense of space.
This year’s house was built to ENERGY STAR® specifications. ENERGY STAR® is a voluntary program run by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency along with product manufacturers, utilities and retailers. The program encourages use of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly materials.
Faculty member Paul Brouard has served as project director for the past 30 years. “I’ve had over 1,000 students out in the field, building their creations,” Brouard said. “It’s still exciting to see the students come along. Each class views the project differently. They generate vital energy in learning how to build.”
Yale students have erected about a dozen houses in transitional neighborhoods of New Haven. “These fragile neighborhoods benefit from interventions,” said Herbert Newman, architectural critic at Yale and a coordinator of the First Year Building Project since its inception. “These are not isolated buildings-they have a beneficial effect, helping make people more conscious of renewing their neighborhoods. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”