An Affordable Family Home Designed & Built By Yale Students

Designed and built by students of the Yale School of Architecture, this small home is intended to be an affordable housing solution for low-income families. The house was completed as part of the school’s Jim Vlock Building Project (JVBP) programme.


Small House - Jim Vlock Building Project - Yale School of Architecture - New Haven - Exterior - Humble Homes

The JVBP programme was established in 1967 and involves the construction of affordable homes in neighborhoods of New Haven that are considered to be economically distressed. This years project involved the design and construction of a 1,000 square foot (93 square meter) home, set on a site in the city’s West River district.


Small House - Jim Vlock Building Project - Yale School of Architecture - New Haven - Kitchen - Humble Homes

The house doesn’t only have to be affordable, but it also needs to be capable of being placed in a variety of areas throughout the country. In a sense, it’s design needed to be independent of the context. To create the home, 52 students were divided up into 8 teams, each of which created their own proposal. Faculty members and guest jurors then determined the winning proposal.


Small House - Jim Vlock Building Project - Yale School of Architecture - New Haven - Staircase - Humble Homes

Construction took place over the summer months. The finished home is relatively simple in shape, with a few small cantilevering sections. The exterior is clad in red cedar and the pitched roof, which is inspired by the traditional New England gable roof, is made of galvanised aluminium.

Small House - Jim Vlock Building Project - Yale School of Architecture - New Haven - Storage - Humble Homes

The first floor revolves around a central box that contains the home’s mechanical areas and free’s up the rest of the floor. The wooden box contains both the kitchen and a downstairs toilet, while also incorporating the staircase and a closet.

Small House - Jim Vlock Building Project - Yale School of Architecture - New Haven - Floor Plan - Humble Homes

The second floor features three bedrooms, a bathroom that’s accessible from both the master bedroom and a hallway, and a shared communal area that’s lined with storage units. Windows have been sized and positioned in accordance with the privacy levels required; they’re much larger in the communal area, whereas they’re quite small in the bedrooms.

For more small houses check out Andrew Simpson’s cozy cottage-like home in New Zealand. Or, this modest Italian house that sits quietly among the landscape of Novellara. See all small houses.

Via Dezeen

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

  1. Can I get a copy of these plans?
    Is this built using dry walling on the inside?


  2. great plan. Doubt that it is “affordable” but a nice alternative to america’s favorite center hall “colonial”.

  3. Brilliant use of space. I’d love to know what “affordable” means as well, but this is one of the best layouts I’ve ever seen. And that upstairs space with the window seats … love, love, love!

  4. my bet is they figure $200 a square foot is affordable. Looking at the kitchen Mid line appliances and cabinetry in this as shown. likely $50000 to finish out this kitchen. My bet is they spent $20K in the bathroom. Then add bringing the power and plumbing This is Connecticut after all So by the time they are done.. $200000 is to them affordable.. and if you compare that to what it costs just over in NYC.. Where you can get a place that is 400 square feet for half a million.. yes it looks affordable..

    What most people would consider affordable is $100 a sf or less ready to move into. As a concept place.. it has nice looks but am sure it will not be easy on the wallet to maintain or operate. Uses no passive siting or apparently much in the way of materials that are going to last more than 50 years..

    Believe it or not for many low income people Utilities is a major expense. This house is not anywhere close to achieving that goal.. Think Passive Haus and then you might be in the ball park.. this one is sitting far out of the park.

  5. From the exterior view which looks amazing by the way, but looks tiny.
    When I saw the interior, WOW
    Where did all that room come from, right.
    Great design that could easily house several people nicely.
    Too bad this building doesn’t have that Eco-Friendly concept.
    It could have composting toilets, solar panel system, energy windows…
    However, this building can be transformed to be set up for the eco-friendly
    environment…it’s still outstanding

  6. Hi Niall… think he means can this be done in a single room. As it is the stairs go up to another room/area above the ceiling.

    I recall on this was done in Bordeaux (France) in a defunct garage which itself I think was a former stable. Absolutely amazing how compact the utility and sleeping area was leaving a decent open space for “life” to happen. You know, parties, exercise, entertaining friends/colleagues/politicians. No, on second thought, scrap entertaining politicians! : )