Courtyard House

Leah Abrams, Boris Morin-Defoy (website), Michael Miller (website), Nicholas Muraglia, Jeanette Penniman, Lauren Raab, Jonathan Sun (website)
Yale School of Architecture
Design Studio
Brief:Competition entry for the Vlock Building Project.  Single family home for a mother & two children with consideration for a potential grandparent with limited mobility.  1500 sqft. 
Faculty: Peter de Brettville (website), Alan Organschi (website), Trattie Davies (website)


The proposal reimagines the layout of a typical suburban home into an unfolded single story house. The traditional New England house is a cluster of rooms around a central fireplace for warmth, but this model is long outdated with the advent of modern technologies. This single story proposal has great potential in prototype variability, ADA accessibility, & spatial nuance in a small house.  

The site zoning allows for a maximum width of 17’.  The scheme maximizes the width of the site by using bay windows & patios so a 17’ wide house can turn into a 26’ wide space.  The urban structure of this neighborhood makes long & skinny backyards that are not typically used by the residence. The neighborhood street is very active with children playing & mothers conversing in a vibrant front-porch-culture.  

This proposal extends the house into this unused space & takes advantage of the expansive views not blocked by the neighbors’ houses.  Each room has visual or physical access to a courtyard space, creating spaces for the family to come together or for a resident to enjoy alone.  

The long roof inverts the typical suburban pitched roof & allows for a more even rain water distribution across the site. The single story house maintains the cornice line of its neighbors to maintain a visual continuity on the street.  The front facade incorporates elements from the eclectic street into a cohesive contributing member.  

The house provides & aesthetic order & a new spatial paradigm to a forgotten & often violent street of New Haven.

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