The Yale Building Project
The First 40 Years
With forward by Robert A.M. Stern
The Yale Building Project: The First Forty Years is the first comprehensive history of one of the most important educational initiatives of the Yale School of Architecture. Every year since 1967, first-year graduate students in the school have designed and constructed a building for a community–based client. This hands-on experience has been a unique achievement in American architectural education. Begun under the leadership of Charles W. Moore (1925-1993), the program originated in the context of intense social activism during the nineteen-sixties.
The Yale Building Project has been a mirror for changes in American society over the past forty years. Initially, Yale students traveled to rural and impoverished Appalachia where they built two community centers, a health clinic for a community afflicted with black lung disease, and a recreation center on a lake in the coal-mining region of Kentucky. During the 1970s and 1980s, students built pavilions and recreational structures throughout Connecticut. Recently, the project has returned to its socially conscious roots and students have designed and built affordable housing in New Haven in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity and Neighborhood Housing Services. Writing the book has encompassed a major archival effort to record these projects and to interview hundreds of alumni of the Yale School of Architecture. The book documents each of the forty building projects and includes two historical essays that situate the program in its historical and educational context.