The sun was shining this weekend in Madrid as the doors of the European Solar Decathlon opened to the public, welcoming spectators to explore the structure-filled Villa Solar. One of the most eye-catching houses currently on site is China's Para-Ecohouse, which was built by students of Tongji University. Prior to the competition, the team promised a design that would incorporate Daoist theory, built upon active and passive systems that emulate "balance" -- one of the core principles taught in the classic Chinese school of thought. With their design, the team also pays respect to western philosophy, highlighting individuality and personal autonomy with a strict off-grid energy system.
Constructed from scratch in just under two weeks, the elegant but strong form of the Para Ecohouse creates an impressive dwelling for a couple to live comfortably in a sustainable manner. The simple architecture of an encased inner hub and a modular bamboo frame can easily be replicated and arranged into different schemes. Here, the design is both viable for mass distribution and remains flexible enough to customize to create a unique structure.
The home pays respect to the Daoist principle of balance, bringing together passive and active forces which are represented throughout the house. Energy creation and efficiency measures becomes a source of pride for the Tongji team. However, the self-sufficiency ethos of the design is intended to reference autonomy, and residents are thus placed in line with western philosophy emphasizing the individual. (Who knew one prefab house could be so deep!)
By glance, the resulting structure is both sturdy and beautiful, and it finds a perfect harmony between the man-made and nature.