Solar Decathlon Europe / Part 2

October 12, 2012
Canopea House

The second edition of Solar Decathlon Europe has come to a close in Madrid with the Canopea House winning the competition. Designed by the Rhône-Alpes Team from the Ecole National Supérieure d'Architecture de Grenoble, France, the house has scored highest in Comfort, Architecture, Innovation and Operations.

The second place is for Patio 2.12 from Team Andalucía, a house with an interesting cooling system based on evaporation that has excelled in Energy Efficiency, Balance of Electricity and Communication. 
Patio 2.12 is a construction with four prefabricated volumes organized around an enclosed courtyard. Each volume hosts a different function: sleeping, cooking, living and technical. Volumes are internally lined with cork panels from recycled wine corks and externally with clay panels.

The courtyard roof is a triple-glazing with leafy-looking external louvers. The glazing can open to release hot air whereas the louvers are fixed and rotate to close or open position. When closed, their irregular shape and metal finish give a lovely shade to the courtyard. Shame that the overhead-glazing hasn't got sufficient pitch to avoid ponding and nasty stains have grown throughout the glazing.
Patio 2.12 Façade

Patio 2.12 Courtyard
Patio 2.12's cooling system is smart. It follows the principle of the traditional botijo, the unglazed clay jug used in Southern Spain to keep water. The botijo (pictured below) cools water by evaporation. Once filled and placed in the sun, its porous material allows water to filter through it and to evaporate once in contact with the outside dry air. Evaporation requires thermal energy which is extracted from the water inside the jug, cooling it down up to 10C. The cooling system of the house works the same way. It relies on ceramic hollow cladding panels. Water drops through the panel's cavity and when it evaporates, it cools the cavity. An air draft brings the cool air into the building.

The Canopea House by the Rhône-Alpes Team is one of the few projects that considers the urban context. The team, concerned by the lack of urban space, has designed a house that can be stacked into towers, thus helping to contain urban sprawl. The "Nanotowers" incorporate features such as farms to grow food and a communal space at the top of the building with a summer kitchen and a laundry room. A buffer zone around the building lowers the heat loss in the winter and protects from the sun in the summer.

Canopea Nanotowers

The Ekó House by Team Brazil is a lovely construction surrounded by bamboo sliding screens. The bamboos are differently spaced in East and West facades. The house has a dry composting toilet and treats it grey water with macrophyte plants.

Solar Decathlon Europe 2012 #sde12 / Madrid, 14 - 30 September 2012

Patio 2.12 House by the Universities of Sevilla, Jaén, Granada & Málaga / Spain
Area:    107.13 m2
Est. energy production:     16,378 kWh / year
Est. energy consumption:    2,982 kWh / y
Est. cost:  €500,000

Canopea House by the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Grenoble / France
Area:    195.9 m2
Est. energy production:     12,733 kWh / year
Est. energy consumption:    6,305 kWh / y
Est. cost:  €700,000

Ekó House by the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina + Universidade de São Paulo / Brazil
Area:    47.59 m2
Est. energy production:     21,157 kWh / year
Est. energy consumption:     6,836 kWh / y
Est. cost:  €450,000

Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 / France

Photos by PS

Noa Haim's Cardboard Megastructures : Beautiful DIY Architecture

October 09, 2012

9 October 2012

Riveting contribution of the Rotterdam based architect Noa Haim to the Madrid Architecture Week. Spaceship Heart, a structure made with folded cardboard polyhedrons, is one of the many possibilities in which you can combine the modules. Through her project Collective Paper Aesthetics, Haim explores spacial scenarios picking up on Buckminster Fuller's work. A smart project with a potentially high impact in public space.

The possibilities offered by the system are endless. The building blocks are combined in a truss i.e. it is a self-supporting structure and can easily adopt multiple shapes. It could in theory be as big as shown in the drawing below and if the cardboard were to be replaced with a stronger material, it could even support additional floors. Paper though gives a wonderful finish, it's easy to source and can be printed to the user's taste.

The project is conceived as a participatory initiative where people help building the structure. It has also been used as a game for kids. At the CentroCentro Space in Madrid, where Spaceship Heart was exhibited, the visitors were shaping the installation with the many blocks that laid around.

Spaceship Heart is an open source design. Haim has shared how to build the polyhedrons and how to combine them into a structure at the I Love Architecture initiative by Architecture for Humanity and at her web page. This is a wonderful act especially towards design-deprived areas ...lucky enough to have internet and a printer.

Spaceship Heart Building Instructions  & Building Block
NB do not forget to send a picture of the work to the architect!

Collective Paper Aesthetics
Buckminster Fuller

Pictures by PS

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