Leading up to the first Solar Decathlon Europe event, international multidisciplinary engineering consultancy Buro Happold has been supporting the design of two of the highly innovative entries, the Fab Lab House and the Living Equia Project.
Held in Madrid the Solar Decathlon Europe is a competition between college and university student teams to design and build the best solar home using readily available products. It’s based on the American event of the same name organised by the United States Department of Energy and is taking place by agreement between the United States and Spanish governments.
The Fab Lab house project has been initiated and led by the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (www.iaac.net), the MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms and a network of fab labs (fab.cba.mit.edu) globally.
Buro Happold structural engineer and IAAC lecturer Florian Foerster and Buro Happold sustainability engineer Trevor Keeling reviewed the design and assisted with the development of structural and environmental solutions for the project, with the IAAC team. The IAAC team’s design used a holistic approach to ensure efficiency in all elements of the building; successfully showcasing what can be achieved using current digital design and fabrication. Florian Foerster says, “It’s a pleasure to continue to support the IAAC’s radical and ambitious approach to design and technology and their ongoing research into teaching and the realisation of complex structures and designs”.
The Fab Lab House has been constructed from digitally designed timber elements and joints, partly because of its ability to cope with constraints such as repeated assembly but also to enable advanced M&E systems to be fully integrated in to the constraints of its asymmetrically double curved form.
Simple but effective, the living EQUIA house is designed to make the best use of natural energy – as well as being aligned with the sun to optimise capture of natural daylighting, light can also penetrate the house through two special ‘axes’ running north to south and east to west.
Buro Happold provided technical support for the detailed design of the house’s energy systems, which run on renewable energy only. The design principles were developed by students from the University of Applied Sciences (HTW), the Beuth University (BTH), and the University of Arts (UdK) in a team which was made up of architects and sustainability and structural engineers.
The ambitious aim of the concept was to create an ‘energy-plus’ building which generates more energy than it actually uses. Following his involvement with the project Buro Happold’s Peter Forster said, “It was a very inspiring, forward looking experience - I had great fun working with such highly motivated students”.
The energy efficient architectural form of the house is combined with high efficiency thermal insulation and PCM (phase change material) to improve its thermal mass. In addition M&E engineer Peter helped to develop a groundbreaking total energy concept using photovoltaic cells and solar collectors in combination with a heat pump and a central air handling unit and sorption wheel.
Solar Decathlon Europe is open to the public and runs from 18 to 27 June.
Press office and practice information at www.burohappold.com
Images are available on request.
For more information, please contact:
Gill Sincock External Communications Consultant
Tel: +44 (0)1225 320600
Or Nadja Stachowski Public Relations
Tel: + 49 (0) 30 860 9060
Buro Happold is a multi-disciplinary international practice of consulting engineers established in 1976. It offers civil and structural engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, quantity surveying, building services and environmental engineering, health and safety management, infrastructure and traffic engineering, ground engineering, façade engineering, fire engineering, computational fluid dynamics analysis, inclusive design consultancy, project management, urban design and a range of specialist CAD services.