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American University of Cairo’s Arkan House is an Impressive Last-Minute Solar Decathlon Design
The new design is dubbed the “Arkan House,” a word meaning “pillars” in traditional Arabic or “corners” in Egyptian dialect. Due to the fact this has been put together in a much shorter space of time than other designs there are limited details available. Of course, we will report from site next week and try to provide the full lowdown on what the house has to offer. Regardless, lets have a look at the dark horse of the competiton.
The design is based around a steel framework, attempting to ensure solidity while adhering to the time constraints on construction that form part of the criteria of the Solar Decathlon. The frame is clad with wooden panels that incorporate improved insulating properties. Paying homage to traditional Middle Eastern design while adding with a modern aesthetic, the wooden structures around the windows are reminiscent of the classical Mashrabiya designs. Other than decoration, they provide shade to the interior, while allowing natural light to reach the interior of the building. These designs can also be found in the wooden protrusions at the front and sides of the house, creating a relaxing verandah for the residents to enjoy.
Of course, as part of the Solar Decathlon, the house is intended to get all its electrical energy requirements from the PV array, located on the angled roof. The gradient of this rooftop had been decided upon for maximum solar exposure assuming a southerly orientation of the building.
The team appears to have put a great deal of thought into the interior design, with a focus on functionality and efficient use of space. The choice of furniture and appliances are intended to provide a comfortable environment for residents but with a decidedly modern flavour.
The team’s intention has been to continually focus on beauty and efficiency throughout their designs, and to combine their respect for traditional arabic architectural practices with cutting-edge technology and a modern sensibility. Given the obstacles this team has had to overcome in order to compete as the first entant to SD Europe from North Africa, this submitted design is to be admired. Construction began last week on site, and a full review of the completed building will appear during the next fortnight as Inhabitat brings you full coverage of all 20 competing houses.
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