Friday, March 1, 2013

What I have been up to this past year- Solar Decathlon 2013

Despite the lack of school blog posts this past year, I have been very busy! Mainly designing the interior of the Canopy House- Team Tidewater Virginia's aging-in-place residence for the 2013 Solar Decathlon coming up this October in Irvine, California.

So what is a Solar Decathlon? And who is Team Tidewater Virginia?

The Solar Decathlon is a contest by the US Department of Energy that challenges universities around the world to design houses that are completely off-the-grid, using the sun via solar panels to supply all energy for the homes. These houses are judged on various criteria such as energy efficiency, marketability, home entertainment, etc.  The houses are to be no more than 1,000 square feet with a construction budget of $250,000.

Team Tidewater Virginia is comprised of Hampton University's architecture students and Old Dominion University's engineering students, who asked my studio to assist with designing the interior of their "Canopy House".  The Canopy House is a sustainable residence that uses the principles of aging-in-place and universal design to make it a home that anyone could live in. This is achieved by features such as grab bars in the bathroom, ADA-height countertops and appliances, and wheelchair turning radii throughout the home. The Canopy House follows a modern, earthen aesthetic, with sleek lines and warm tones.

My responsibilities for this project included brainstorming and space-planning in the schematic design phase to figure out how so many features can fit in an 880 square foot home, and has moved into more detail-oriented work as we are now in the design development phase. I have continued work on this project through an independent study with a fourth-year studio, who are designing objects to go in the home while a fellow third-year and I are currently refining material and fixture selections.

This project has given me real world experience in working with clients (Team Tidewater), working with a budget, and meeting strict construction deadlines. I hope in the coming months to complete a cohesive, universally interior designed home that appeals to just about every visitor.

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