The University of Florida’s entry to the Solar Decathlon competition in Madrid is a design pulled from a long tradition of building in a hot climate. Their incorporated dog run -- an open passage through the heart of the house -- provides ample natural ventilation and a generous outdoor living space. The Re:Focus House took the concept of natural ventilation through generous shading and modernized it with a scalable and satisfying design -- even the contemporary window louvers are reclaimed lumber from an old home. They also added a couple new concepts as well -- like tubular solar electric panels that are creating quit the buzz.
The entire house is panelized to allow it to be flat packed and assembled around 7 square “ribs”. Because of the standardization of the system it can be configured in many different ways. Keeping cool is the name of the game in Madrid, so the Team installed a large 12 kWh solar array on top to shade the home and wrapped the entire building in louvers. The solar array on the house’s walls is a fascinating development — they are actually cylinders that can absorb light from all directions, including reflected light from the home’s windows. Doubling as a window covering, the tubular solar panels are an ingenious way of combining a strong architectural detail with renewable technologies.
The dog trot is has an awning that folds down to secure the home. The interiors are simple and spacious, using different scales that provide a generous open feeling to this modularized home. The large openings to the outdoors and separated rooms allow the home to connect seamlessly to the surrounding environment, and allows for privacy between the living and bedroom.