(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.