Maryland’s LEAFHouse Scores Second in Architecture

Maryland's LEAF House at the 2007 Solar Decathlon on the National Mall

(Fawna Xiao of the University of Maryland is ready for the next round of visitors at the 2007 Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 15. The Maryland team took second place in the architecture portion of the competition. Credit: Kaye Evans-Lutterodt/Solar Decathlon)

The U.S. Department of Energy inaugurated its biennial Solar Decathlon on Friday, bringing online a neighborhood of twenty solar-powered houses on the National Mall. The University of Maryland School of Architecture’s entry, the LEAFHouse (interior pictured above), already picked up second place in the architecture contest, which compared the houses on firmness, utility, and delight. (Ironically, though the competition highlights new technology, the architectural criteria are derived from three ancient Roman architecture principles).

The decathlon will judge the houses in nine more categories, the results of which will be tabulated on Friday, October 19. A quick tour of the house today proved that environmentally conscious architecture can also be beautiful.

Though the school’s 2005 entry was sadly scrapped after the competition, we certainly hope this year’s superb entry will return home to College Park intact for for public display and enjoyment.

Website: Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
Schedule: The Solar Decathlon houses are open for public tours through Saturday:

  • 11 am – 3 pm on weekdays (all houses will be closed Wednesday).
  • 10 am – 5 pm on Saturday.

Location: On the National Mall, south of the Museum of Natural History, north of the Smithsonian Castle.
Metro: Smithsonian

3 thoughts on “Maryland’s LEAFHouse Scores Second in Architecture”

  1. Hello Rethink readers . . . welcome to live blogging from the Solar Decathlon! Ha I joke, but working at the Department of Energy I have both somewhat of a vested interest in the event and the advantage of being across the street from it! So here are a few observations/updates:

    UMD is currently winning! I’m not really sure what this means, but they are currently atop the “leaderboard.” What it did mean for me was that to get in the house there was a bit of a line, which I did not have the time to wait in and which my clout as a UMD alum and DOE employee did not let me bypass (they must know I’m a contractor!). Anyway, the house looks cool from the outside and I’m proud the Terps have the early lead, they must be doing something right.

    Just the scene of all 20 houses sprawled on the Mall is really cool. There is some great architecture, engineering, and other stuff I will not pretend to be an expert on on display out there and I encourage anyone who has the time and means to go check it out.

    An interesting note: After spending the last year or two working on these houses at their respective universities, all the teams had to take them apart, get them here, and put them back togehter last week. It was pretty impressive to see the transformation from last week to this week and from what I understand some of the teams had to work very hard to get their houses back together in time for the kickoff.

    Will students one day be renting solar houses in College Park and pissing off their solar neighbors? I don’t know, but I hope some others of you get the chance to check this out, it could be a glimpse at the future!

  2. I was down there this weekend, and it’s really a great thing to see. There is such a wide variety of design approaches. While I voted for Maryland on the viewer’s choice ballot, I was extremely impressed with the schools and the crowds they brought along with them.

    Watch the scores be updated online evrey 15 minutes at

    Go terps.

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