20 teams of students from around the world are currently competing to build the world's most efficient sun-powered house in the Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 - and the Ressò House just took home top honors in the competition's Architecture contest! The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya teamed up with Barcelona Tech to develop a self-sufficient home wrapped in a translucent shell that harvests solar energy and rainwater. Inhabitat talked to members of the team at Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 about what inspired the design just hours before their victory in the Architecture category was announced. Click on the images to read more about the features of this award-winning passive home!
Like a box within a box, the double height 81m2 communal space provides multifunctionality and adapts to form a meeting space, dining hall, play space, dance room and even a basketball court. Playful rope swings crafted from old skateboards hang down underneath the wooden support for the rooftop solar array.
The square footprint of 111m2 cube is oriented like a diamond shape pointing north. An L-shaped perimeter strip on the north west and and north east houses service spaces such as the bathroom and kitchen. On the south wall the double layer semi opaque polycarbonate functions as a heat collector and brings natural light inside.
Ressò achieves self-sufficiency through passive systems. Solar PV is only a small part of reducing the carbon footprint of the structure. Passive heat collection plus natural ventilation and air circulation are supplemented by methods to collect and conserve water. Rainwater is collected for washing purposes and greywater recycled.
Not only does the space encourage social cohesion, so does the building process. One of the challenges of the process was the use of consensus building to agree on design stages, meaning decision making took some time. Instead of high tech construction, simpler techniques were adopted so that 45 students could complete the build with 10 days on site. The team enjoyed the experience of taking part in the build and hope that by involving communities in building future iterations of the design, the houses will take on a greater value for future users.
The house is furnished with recycled, upcycled and collected items such as seats made from car tyres and second hand armchairs and hammocks collected from the local community. Raw scaffold components mean the structure and internal divisions are kept inexpensive and adaptable.
The concept of the active user is encouraged further by leaving services visible within the building. One team member explained, “When you plug in your phone to charge, you can see the green wires head up to the solar array, you’re more aware of how the house is functioning.”
Lower density areas in Barcelona rely on the big city and hence cars and fossil fuels due to lack of local provision. Team Ressò are actively working within the St. Muç neighbourhood in Rubí on the North West fringe of Barcelona to produce a real building that provides solutions for local people. The team Resso vision is that providing collective infrastructure will lead social and environmental rehabilitation. As the slogan hand-painted outside claims, this really is more than just a house.