Responsive architecture, or buildings that adapt to different environmental conditions, was a hot topic at the 2010 Solar Decathlon, the annual collegiate competition that focuses on solar power and green building techniques. Held this year in Madrid, Spain, Virginia Tech’s Lumenhaus took top honors for its innovative 100% solar-powered, zero-energy model home.
How did they do it? Smart use of solar power, technology, and architectural knowledge. Lumenhaus is designed as an “open pavilion” with movable walls and solar panels that shift to maximize energy efficiency and create the right temperature inside, controlled by an automated system. The open design was inspired by the glass-pavilion architecture of the modernist masterpiece Farnsworth House designed by Mies van der Rohe, which today functions as a museum and historic site in its original location in Illinois. Lumenhaus will be on display Nov. 17-19 at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Chicago.
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