Students in the TO team win two third prizes in the 2019 Solar Decathlon Europe competition

+
Download

The TO team, made up of 38 students

+
Download

Assembling the actual prototype in Szentendre, Hungary

+
Download

The TO team receiving one of the third prizes

+
Download

The TO house installed in Szentendre, Hungary

+
Download

Students putting the final touches to the house in Hungary

The sustainable dwelling TO competed in the 2019 Solar Decathlon Europe, which took place in Hungary from 28 June to 29 July, and was awarded two third prizes in the Architecture and Circularity and Sustainability categories. The UPC team was made up of 35 students from the Vallès School of Architecture (ETSAV) and three from the Barcelona East School of Engineering (EEBE).

Sep 06, 2019

The students in the TO team competed in the 2019 Solar Decathlon Europe, which was held in Szentendre (Hungary), and won two third prizes for their sustainable house in the Architecture (ex aequo with the Habiter2030 project, from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et de Paysage de Lille) and Circularity and Sustainability (ex aequo with the Aura project, from the University of Seville) categories. The team, made up of 35 students from the Vallès School of Architecture (ETSAV) and three from the Barcelona East School of Engineering (EEBE), finished in eighth place, with a score of 717.966 out of 1,000.

The competition was divided into two stages: the assembly, which took place from 28 June to 13 July, and the exhibition, from 14 to 29 July. The judges evaluated the projects in 10 categories, in each of which up to 100 points could be awarded. The teams Habiter2030 (ENSAP Lille, France), MOR (Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands) and Over4 (Universitatea Tehnica de Constructii Bucuresti, Romania) made the podium.

The SDE judges evaluated four categories in the first week: Communication and Social Awareness, in which TO finished eighth; Circularity and Sustainability, in which it finished third; Innovation and Viability, in which it came ninth; and Energy Efficiency, in which it also came ninth. 

Another four categories were evaluated in the second week: Neighbourhood Integration and Impact, in which TO finished 10th; Engineering and Construction, in which it finished sixth; Architecture, in which it was again awarded the third highest score; and Energy Balance, in which it came ninth. The judges evaluated the remaining two categories on a daily basis: in Comfort Conditions and House Functioning, TO finished in sixth and seventh place, respectively.

Breaking up the hierarchy of rooms as we know it today
With the TO project, the team of students from the ETSAV and the EEBE managed to break up the hierarchy of rooms as we know it today: the house had no kitchen, toilet or living room; instead the rooms could be arranged for the comfort of its dwellers. Depending on the climatic circumstances, for example, the rooms could be adapted to better manage the conditions of the interior space and minimise energy consumption, by allowing the dwellers to shower or sleep in the warmer south-facing side in winter and in the north-facing side in summer.

It was therefore a construction that, in addition to allowing more sustainable management, brought about new everyday habits that are more energy-efficient and have a lower environmental impact.

The project aimed to trigger an ecosystemic change by proposing a space or dwelling that is structured according to a new logic of use and consumption, new habits and new ways of interacting with and inhabiting a space that was still comfortable but also dynamic and adaptable at all times. In addition, it could help its dwellers to be more sustainable by displaying the course natural resources take inside the housing unit and by turning waste into a new resource, which closes the metabolic cycle.

The University is currently working with the Barcelona City Council so that, once the competition is over, the prototype can be exhibited at the EEBE from November onwards and subsequently used as a local public facility. It could also be used to host student teams and research groups. Students from the BAU Design College of Barcelona and Audiovisual Communication students from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona also worked in the early stages of constructing the TO project.