Materials for the Living Village will prioritize natural options sourced as locally as possible as defined by the Living Building Challenge’s Regional Economy Sourcing Imperative. The material palette shall be honest, expressive of its inherent qualities without embellishment. The materials shall also be durable and weather naturally through patina, without the use of coatings.

The predominant material expression of Yale Divinity School’s Sterling Divinity Quadrangle (SDQ) structure is that of red brick. The architecture of the West Residences works to provide a material response that is both complementary and respectful of the existing palette of SDQ. The design teams sampled the existing material palette of SDQ which is red brick, slate roof, blue stone paving, painted architectural detailing, stone, standing seam metal and gold leaf. In addition, the design team investigated a material palette that is regionally available and includes mass timber, oak, ash, blue stone, brick and terracotta. Terracotta was advanced as a primary material for the West Residences due to its ability to adapt to a variety of different configurations and color palettes. The proposed terracotta will match the tone and hue of the historic red brick, facilitating a responsive attitude towards red brick, not one of mimicry or copying, at a risk of detracting or diluting the existing architecture.  Previous iterations of the design considered wood, and while wood can reduce initial embodied carbon, the team concluded that it did not convey the weight and formality to be paired with SDQ. While Terracotta is not carbon negative when first installed, it is far more durable than wood (which releases its carbon when it decays). Further, the team will work to design a low-carbon back-up wall to offset and minimize the embodied carbon of the whole envelope. Terracotta will be durable and beautiful for generations.

A table with numerous sample building materials on it including wood, leather, plaster, and stone.
Sample building materials