Ecobuildingpulse.com produced the above interview with Team Czech Republic architecture project manager, Martin Cenek.
Team Czech Republic, comprised of students from the Czech Technical University in Prague, won the Architecture contest—one of five juried sub-competitions—and took home third place overall in the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. The CTU team’s entry, the Air House, was designed with the students’ parents in mind as a prototype for empty-nesters relocating to the Czech countryside. Featuring an L-shaped dwelling beneath a larger wooden box, the Air House embodies Team Czech Republic’s “holistic approach to everything,” according to project manager Martin Cenek (interviewed above). “It’s a simple house—a simple volume—wrapped in a second skin that gives it its image, and the second skin is the basis of its passive design.”
The Air House's back porch sits beneath a second skin of fixed wooden louvers that shade the dwelling unit and its small exterior space.
Credit: Courtesy Deane Madsen
Architecture Contest Results
Rank | Team | Points awarded
See all of the entries to the 2013 Solar Decathlon in ARCHITECT's Project Gallery.
The Air House’s second skin is a wood exoskeleton with fixed louvers that shade the dwelling unit within enough that, even in sunny southern California, the Team Czech Republic students rarely had to turn on the house’s cooling systems. Instead, simply opening oversized apertures allowed cross-ventilation to cool the interior naturally. The three judges for the Architecture contest responded positively to Team Czech Republic’s house-within-a-house strategy. “Our biggest concern is how does that veil stand the test of time?” noted Richard N. Swett, FAIA, juror and CEO and founder of Climate Prosperity Enterprise Solutions. “But today it looks gorgeous, and what it does is create a dappling of the forest leaves, it’s a wonderful environment, and under that you have this very elegant, very well-structured interior space that engages the outdoors and the indoors very nicely.”
Visit Ecobuildingpulse's landing page for all things 2013 Solar Decathlon.