In New Haven, Connecticut where a one-bedroom apartment rents for $1,100 a month, many underemployed, unemployed or those on social security struggle to find a place to call home.
Columbus House, a local non-profit that has been serving the community for 35 years has made it their mission to end homelessness in their community. They are passionate about helping those who are currently homeless or at risk for becoming homeless access the services and tools they need to find housing.
The partnership's first project was a two-family duplex. To design and create the first home, teams of students interviewed their potential residents to find out what was most important to them.
Their answers, a sense of ownership and a balance of public and private space, became the main drivers of the project. The students collaborated in small groups on several designs and then selected one to build. After constructing much of the home in a warehouse, the students spent the summer building the home and adding finishing touches.
The duplex features a two-bedroom on one side and an efficiency on the other. With small footprints, maximizing the efficiency of the space was a high priority, so students selected a modern design.
Several small windows were added to the home to bring in natural light while providing privacy that the residents desire. A few big, beautiful windows with a lot of glass and stylish hardware make the small spaces feel bigger and helped students balance the sense of public and private space in the home.
To keep with the clean lines of the home and maximize floor space, the students selected wood sliding patio doors for the main living areas of the home. The patio doors feature shades-between-the-glass that provide more privacy for the residents and helps protect the shades from dust and damage.