Tag Archives: house of the week

Congrats to the CCA + SCU team – 2009 Solar Decathlon Architecture Contest winner

Refract House

A well deserved kudos to all who participated in the Solar Decathlon is in order. This year’s entries have a level of sophistication and attention to detail that should inform the industry and heat up the debate on energy independence.

The Refract house, winner of the Architecture category is such a well-done concept. Not only does it bend producing more roof area concentrating on the best sun exposure, but creates and extends living space to the outdoors. From the photographs it is obvious that, while only 800 s.f., there is a visual separation form the adjacent spaces as the building form turns the corner.

An overview of the design process and a well-documented list of the features employed can be found on the official page below. It’s unclear what digital design tools were used in creating this project. Anyone that can provide some clues, you are welcome to add a comment to the post. The use of the Building Dashboard for monitoring energy consumption and production is especially interesting, since I covered this way back in February of 2007.

from ArchDaily: CCA + SCU win 2009 Solar Decathlon, Architecture Contest | ArchDaily.

the official page: http://www.refracthouse.com

House of the week

sliding-house-by-drmmWhy are you showing me an image of a greenhouse? It’s a house, but a different shade of green. And it’s not for growing in the way you’d think. Huh? I will explain.

Perhaps a good reason to start pushing for software vendors to get animation of building components into their BIM or CAD applications, besides the cool factor, is this notion of biomimicry. Autodesk has formed a mini-web dedicated to the topic, which seems to have slipped by unnoticed. The concept is wonderful. Why not use nature as inpiration to build buildings that add to, rather than take away from their environment. Is sustainability simply just getting to a balance on the tipping point to success or failure? What has been gnawing away at the gut of BIM is the ability to design and simulate the design features in-place. It’s no fun to pull the design into Max and start adding “ik” controls just to understand the impact of an operable feature. Concurrent design and analysis becomes critical in the AEC world as designers become more sophisticated about the questions they ask their software to answer. Much like an industrial designer can test out moving parts of a machine with Inventor, architects should have the same level of sophistation in their own tools. Perhaps we are soo good at borrowing without complaint, that we are a good target for ‘upselling’. Don’t give us your laundry list of things that might do the job, let’s get the tools to do what we want internally, to avoid the asynchronous nature of exporting and importing peices and parts of a moving puzzle. Oh, yeah… so back to our little green, er red house.

sliding-house-by-drmmSo here, I present the house of the week – yes, it’s the same view as above. Then where did all that glass go? Why, it’s underneath the sliding roof form. Cool. Why? Be patient, and I’ll explain.

While not necessarily an example of biomimicry, this house certainly has the ability to react to it’s environment. When the living room is too sunny, slide some shade over the patio, change the view… it opens up some very interesting possibilities. Click through to see the whole progression.

Sliding House by dRMM – via Dezeen.