As the Solar Decathlon competition comes to a head in Madrid, the leaders of the pack have emerged! The amazing Armadillo Box by the French team from École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Grenoble has been holding steady as a top competitor for the entire week. Right now the adorably-named Armadillo Box is in third place behind the University of Rosenheim IKAROS House and the leader from the US - Virginia Polytechnic's Lumenhaus. The competition is heating up -- will the Armadillo Box's energy-efficient exterior and cool interior put a damper on the Lumenhaus' high-tech shifting facade? Only this weekend will tell!
The Armadillo Box was inspired by its namesake, a sturdy desert creature whose unique outer shell and slow metabolism helps it keep cool in the desert heat. The team from France utilized the same concept to minimize energy use and excess heat by locating their core energy systems inside the house. Prefabricated modules utilizing common and inexpensive materials form the main structure, while an exterior shell covers the whole house, providing shade and generating power with a large photovoltaic system.
Designed for a couple, the interior of the home is efficiently laid out, flexible, and can easily expand with large doors that open onto a deck. Furniture was designed to be easily moved for different configurations like sleeping or entertaining, allowing the residents to make the best use of the home’s efficient and simple interior. Floor-to-ceiling windows are shaded by a large overhang on the southern facade, allowing them to bring in natural sunlight while keeping out the hot sun. Rainwater can be collected, which supplies the water-efficient cooling mist system (even though it hasn’t rained much during the competition). Only a few more prize categories remain, and the winners will be determined on Sunday, so stay tuned for our complete coverage!