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Solar Decathlon

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The Solar Decathlon is an architectural and design competition involving twenty teams from colleges and universities across America. The aim of the contest from the US Department of Energy is to design a sustainable home that uses solar energy. And build it better than anyone else! The judging will continue through October 16th, and the homes will be open to the public through the 18th. They are up now, on the National Mall in Washington, DC. if you have a chance to go by and see.

The reason it's called a decathlon is that there are ten contests all the houses must compete in, for architecture, market viability, engineering, lighting design, communications, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment, and net metering. So in theory, half the teams could win bragging rights in separate titles. That's not usually how such contests turn out.

The team from Cornell University designed the Silo House. It may look like a pair of farm silos, but the inside is all high-tech, with a computer system that controls all home functions in order to maximize energy efficiency.

250_germanyhomeTeam Germany, from the Technische Universität Darmstadt, designed the surPLUShome. The interior has technically one room that is divided by appliances, stairs, and the design of the interior itself, which makes it feel like a much larger space.

250_arizonahomeThe University of Arizona team named their entry SEED [pod]. The design can be adapted and changed to suit the location of the home. Considering the competition is in Washington, the team expects to run the environmental control system (air conditioning) continuously. In Tucson, this would not be necessary.

223house_kentuckyThe team from the University of Kentucky named their entry s.ky blue. The artistic license with spelling and punctuation may be a college thing. This house is designed to take advantage of passive cooling, with a breezeway through the center and walls oriented to track the sun through the day. The opacity of the glass walls changes depending on the time of day and climate control needs.

All the Solar Decathlon teams have a website for the project; you can find them by clicking on any team name here. Keep up with scores and overall standings as the competition continues. Whether you like the homes or not, they all have some great ideas that may catch on.

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iStock
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architecture
One Photographer's Quest to Document Every Frank Lloyd Wright Structure in the World
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iStock

From California’s Marin County Civic Center to the Yokodo Guest House in Ashiya City, Japan, Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence spans countries and continents. Today, 532 of the architect’s original designs remain worldwide—and one photographer is racking up the miles in an attempt to photograph each and every one of them, according to Architectural Digest.

Andrew Pielage is the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s unofficial photographer. The Phoenix-based shutterbug got his gig after friends introduced him to officials at Taliesin West, the late designer’s onetime winter home and studio that today houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

Higher-ups at Taliesin West allowed Pielage to photograph the property in 2011, and they liked his work so much that they commissioned him for other projects. Since then, Pielage has shot around 50 Wright buildings, ranging from Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, to the Hollyhock House in Los Angeles.

Pielage takes vertical panoramas to “get more of Wright in one image,” and he also prefers to work with natural light to emphasize the way the architect integrated his structures to correspond with nature’s rhythms. While Pielage still has over 400 more FLW projects to go until he's done capturing the icon’s breadth of work, you can check out some of his initial shots below.

[h/t Architectural Digest]

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Made.com
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Art
What the Homes of the Future Will Look Like, According to Kids
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Made.com

Ask a futurist what the house of tomorrow will feature and she might mention automatic appliances and robot assistants. Ask a kid the same question and you’ll get answers that are slightly more creative, but not altogether impractical. That’s what Made.com discovered when they launched Homes of the Future, a project that had kids draw illustrations of futuristic homes that served as the basis for professional 3D renderings.

According to Co.Design, the UK-based furniture retailer recruited children ages 4 to 12 to submit their architectural ideas. The doodles, sketched in pen, marker, and colored pencil, showcase the grade-schoolers' imaginations. Paired with each picture is concept art made with a 3D illustrator that shows what the homes might look like in the real world.

The designs range from colorful and whimsical to coldly realistic. In one blueprint, drawn by Ameen, age 10, a neighborhood of rainbow buildings and flowers float among the clouds. Another sketch by Ellis, age 7, shows a “home built to last” with titanium, bricks, a steel roof, and bulletproof windows. Some kids seemed less concerned with durability than they were with the tastiness of the infrastructure. Cherry-flavored bricks, candy windows, and a giant jelly slide were just some of the features built into the future homes. Sustainability was also a major theme, with solar panels appearing on two of the houses.

Check out the original artwork and the 3D versions of their ideas below.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Made.com.

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