Movable sustainability: The case of a 2011 solar decathlon house Article

Rosales, C, Shanti, M. (2011). Movable sustainability: The case of a 2011 solar decathlon house . 7(4), 368-381.

cited authors

  • Rosales, C; Shanti, M



  • Florida International University was selected by the US Department of Energy as one of the twenty teams in the world to design and build a solar powered home. Teams will compete in 10 categories including sustainability, architecture, engineering, and affordability. Decathlon houses must be built in the locality of each university and then shipped to Washington, DC for contests and display on the National Mall. The Florida International University (FIU) Solar Decathlon studio considered unique challenges of design and construction: the house must satisfy two drastically different climate zones: it must be built for tropical Miami (Florida), and also meet requirements of temperate Washington, DC. The house also has to satisfy two different building codes: the strict code of hurricaneprone Florida, and the building code of the District of Columbia. The house also needs to adapt to various possible uses and locations after the competition. The TRANSTROPIC HOUSE has been envisioned as an open and flexible pavilion that transacts with its climatic circumstances and transforms itself according to the environmental conditions of its use. A contemporary interpretation of traditional tropical architecture, the TRANSTROPIC HOUSE has movable external shutters that adapt to solar positions by allowing various levels of enclosure. The adjustable perimeter louvers shade the interior and also close tightly as hurricane shutters. Ample sliding glass doors help with cross-ventilation, while superior insulation protects the house from heat gain and loss. Innovative building-integrated photovoltaic and solar thermal systems provide the highest levels of comfort for visitors with minimal impact on the environment. Modular construction will ease assembly in Florida, transportation to Washington, erection at the National Mall, and moving the house back to Miami where it is intended to be reused as a visitor's center for the FIU natural preserve. © Common Ground, Camilo Rosales, Mohammed Shanti, All Rights Reserved.

publication date

  • December 19, 2011

start page

  • 368

end page

  • 381


  • 7


  • 4