These past couple weeks have been extremely exciting for our Solar Decathlon team. Since our last update we have made several advances in our design due to our Designathon in late February, have been inspired by architects from Lowney Architects and LMS Architects who came to speak to us, and have been thrilled to announce that we will be holding a class for Solar Decathlon team for Fall 2017.
On February 20th, we held our first Designathon. At the Designathon members were divided into teams and then paired with two professional mentors to come up with a completely new design for our house. They were given five hours to design and then present their house to a panel of professionals for review and critique. This was extremely beneficial in discovering new ideas that we want to apply to our house. From this has spurred our new vision for our house. Thus far, we have designed a 3-5 story multi-family complex, made out of wood, that fits in the smallest infill lots in an urbanizing city. Through our designathon we further solidified a key feature: the “step” stacking technique. This will open up spacious deck areas and great views, adding an element of community and social sustainability. We believe this complements our overarching vision of a is simplicity; a simple home, a simple structure, and a simple shape that promotes communal living through shared spaces. such as laundry, mechanical facilities, and deck space.
In March we were thrilled to have two representatives from Lowney Architects and LMS Architects come and speak to us about sustainable design and modular building. We learned the difference between modular building (which is relocatable) and factory building (permanent modular construction). Since we are building a modular and stackable home this was extremely informational and helpful.
Finally, we are also proud to announce that we will be offering a crash course centered around our competition this coming fall! The primary objective of this course is to encourage interested students to learn more about Solar Decathlon through participating in our multidisciplinary design and build project. This class can be taken for units and will cover many of the topics that directly influence the design and construction of a Zero Net energy home. Students will also have the opportunity to gain practical knowledge by actively creating a sustainable and affordable multifamily housing solution for the city of Richmond.