University of Florida's Entry At Solar Decathlon Mixes Old Ideas, New Technology


Images from University of Florida, from site or via designboom

We always say that one of the ways we can design new buildings to use a lot less energy is to design them like old buildings, that Everything New is Old Again, particularly when it comes to getting rid of air conditioning. That is what the University of Florida does with their entry at the Solar Decathlon Europe; they look carefully at how people lived in Florida and adapt it.
Images from University of Florida

They say that it is modelled on a traditional "Florida Cracker" house:

The house's design includes elements from historic Florida houses for a back-to-basics approach to energy conservation. The design strategy combines technological advances with the poetic sensibility and humble celebration of utility of our local building traditions.

They deconstructed an existing building to get much of the materials, building the screens from the wood.

The plan is also traditional, a "dogtrot" porch between living spaces that is oriented toward the prevailing wind. Combine that with a porous, breathable building skin and you have tremendous natural ventilation.

You also get a beautiful building, with great flexibility in how you use it. The screens can be down, giving you security and air at the same time, or up, acting as sunshades. The dogtrot can be closed at night and still catch the breeze. The photovoltaic roof not only provides the power they need, but note how it is framed above the roof, acting as a hat to keep the sun off the roof.

It does look comfortable. The Spanish entry may have the coolest manufacturing and form, but this entry is practical, buildable, sensible and mixes the old and new so well. I love it.

Now all they have to do is take a Florida trailer park and put these there instead.

More images at Designboom and University of Florida

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Tags: Design Competitions | Florida