Past Projects

The Design/Build Semester project offers the opportunity to flex your creative muscles while prioritizing real-world challenges. Whether exploring questions about affordability and accessibility through a tiny house design or examining issues of community empowerment, economics, and need with a non-profit client, students engage in every aspect of bringing a project to fruition, examining both its structural and social implications. Because these are real projects with real concerns, students also prioritize for fiscal responsibility. The varied challenges serve students well in any career path.

Fall 2019

The Fall 2019 Semester in Design/Build embarked on the ambitious task of designing and building the newest addition to our campus. At 1,200 square feet, this dormitory will house sixteen students and feature a common area, mudroom, and bathrooms. With innovation in mind, the students have designed stacking “sleeping pods” to create private spaces that are gender-neutral, space-conscious, and a quiet respite from the campus energy.  With net-zero goals in mind, the building will be super-insulated with dense-pack cellulose. Interior mechanical and electrical systems will all be high efficiency. These will include an on-demand propane water heater, an air-to-air heat pump system, air-to-air heat exchangers for high indoor air quality and overall building health, and LED lighting. There are plans to add green roof systems to support onsite stormwater management, local plant species, and pollinators.

Fall 2018

In 2018, The Semester in Design/Build worked on a small apprentices cabin for a local metalworker. The modified a-frame design was the result of a last-minute decision to add a loft after the floor system had already been built. The students took the changes in stride and came up with a fantastic and visually stunning design. Students used salvaged windows and customized metal awnings to add to the visual interest. In place of a poured foundation, this project features helical piers that allow for minimal site disruption when building a new structure. 

Fall 2017

The 2017 Semester in Design/Build partnered with the Vermont Huts Association to build a cabin for the Chittenden Brook Campground. The cabin is accessible year-round and includes a kitchenette and sleeping for up to 10. Inside you'll find custom built ins, locally sourced wood flooring and concrete countertops. This project was built on the Yestermorrow campus and craned into place at the campground in 2018. It is the only Semester program project that the public can rent for a night! 

Fall 2016

In 2016, 8 students designed and built a 400 square foot accessory dwelling unit dubbed the Bump House. The space features a living room, full kitchen, bathroom, and a sleeping loft. This group of students put an immense amount of thought into consideration into the material selection to ensure the greenest build possible within the client's budget. 

Fall 2015

2015 Sememster Program ProjectIn 2015 we undertook our most ambitious project to date.  15 students designed and built a project for Educational Praxis, an organization training educators rooted in social justice.  Charged with developing a meeting and study space, an accommodating entryway, and a guest scholar's quarters, students navigated building performance, aesthetics, and portability to develop an innovative project. The project was delivered in April 2016, greatly increasing Educational Praxis' capacity and putting the final details on an incredible effort.

Fall 2014

2014 Semester Program Project2014's project project balanced aesthetics, chemical sensitivity, and structural finesse.  Fifteen students designed and built a 380 sf dwelling on a 24' x 12' extended drop-deck trailer.  Cantilevers, custom-laminated rafters, and a raised floor gave rise to strong sectional qualities; careful attention to indoor air quality informed decisions of materials and active systems, which were then checked against rigorous financial and weight budgets; aesthetics balanced the vernacular, whimsical, and traditional with modern sensibilities and reclaimed materials.  A new, portable home gives birth to a new chapter in the life of our client.

Fall 2013

2013 Semester Program ProjectStudents carried a thoroughly developed design intent to fruition in a 350 square foot portable home; constraints of size, budget, and time meshed with attention to aesthetics, constructability, and chemical sensitivity to create a well-crafted solution to a complex design problem.  The project provides serves as both an office and group meeting space as well as a well-appointed residence.  Locally-sourced materials, a super-insulated envelope, and efficient use of mechanical systems create an environmental sensitivity that stands alongside the balance of classic and modern aesthetic.

Fall 2012

2012 Semester Program ProjectThe Fall 2012 project was a small guest house situated on a special piece of property in Montpelier, VT. The site terraces dramatically from a wooded enclave on the edge of town towards the Winooski River, the place and the house describe the multi-dimensional ideas of urban and rural, landscape and shelter. Perhaps the most dynamic element of the building are its multiple cantilevers, the largest of which rotates at a 45 degree angle from the main form of the building casting views into the nearby tree canopy and into to the mountains beyond. Designed to accommodate simple needs, the 2012 class succeeded in developing a project that is practical and spatially exciting.

Fall 2011

2011 Semester Program ProjectStudents designed and built an architecturally innovative tiny affordable house on wheels, built sustainably and designed to address the needs of the Vermont climate. In only 227 square feet, they were able to incorporate a full kitchen, bath, bedroom and living space, including many sustainable features including a composting toilet, super insulated walls using recycled foam, low maintenance exterior finishes and energy efficient appliances.