Gallery: Tidewater Virginia’s Unit 6 Unplugged Solar Decathlon House Em...

© Jill Fehrenbacher for Inhabitat
While not as edgy as some of its competitors, the Unit 6 Unplugged Solar Decathlon House designed by students from Old Dominion University and Hampton University took a very different approach. The Tidewater Virginia team decided to stick to the historic ties of the Norfolk neighborhood and drew influence from the Arts and Crafts aesthetic. Student project manager John Whitelaw took Inhabitat on a tour of the quarters - read on for an exclusive first look!

The furniture in the Unit 6 Unplugged house reflects the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, which originated in England in the late 19th century and was spread worldwide by architects and designers like William Morris and Frank Lloyd Wright. Several pieces in the house were designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a well-known architect and designer from that period. These pieces are on temporary loan from a faculty member for the duration of the competition.

The home’s sloped roof and deep porch draw upon Southern porch culture, offering a place to hang out on hot days. The porch can even be enjoyed during colder weather, as it can be easily converted into an enclosed space thanks to a Henselstone window and door system. The hurricane-rated windows are another important design feature, given the weather patterns of the area. They boast a thermal resistance value (R-value) of 7 on the north, west and east sides and 5.5 on the south side of the house.


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  1. Harry von Feilitzsch September 27, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Why do you see so many European windows and doors at the Solar Decathlon exhibit? This is a question asked by many visitors. The answer is quite simple: The major American window manufacturers spend millions of lobbying dollars to prevent tighter energy regulations instead of re-designing their 1 3/4 inch sashes to accommodate energy efficient glazing. Sad but true, companies such as Henselstone Window and Door Systems have to come here and help America get energy independent.

  2. Aimee Pena September 27, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Like this house very much. Very practical and simple.

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