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Photo of Solar Decathlon Director Richard King being interviewed by a videographer.

European Teams Top Architecture and Communications Contests

Friday, October 11, 2013

By Solar Decathlon

Czech Technical University took first place in the highly competitive Architecture Contest and Vienna University of Technology received top honors in the Communications Contest this morning at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013.

A jury of professional architects determined the Architecture Contest winners by assessing each house’s architectural elements, environmental compatibility and occupant comfort, design inspiration, and construction specifications.

Photo of the interior of AIR House.

The interior of Czech Technical University’s AIR House, which won first place in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 Architecture contest, incorporates warm and natural wood finishes to create a comfortable place to dwell and reenergize. (Credit: Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

“The first-place winner, AIR House from Czech Technical University, provides a multitude of wonderful architectural experiences despite its simple and uncomplicated design,” said Architecture Contest juror Richard N. Swett of Climate PROSPERITY Enterprise Solutions LLC. “Using light and materials, this house creates a warm and inviting cocoon where indoor and outdoor living are intertwined with the elements of sun and nature.”

Stevens Institute of Technology won second place in the Architecture Contest for its house, Ecohabit. Third place went to the University of Southern California for fluxHome.

For the Communications Contest, a jury of communications professionals evaluated each team’s website, public exhibit materials, public tours, and audiovisual presentation for clear and consistent messages, representative images, and creative audience engagement.

Photo of Sandra Violand distributing handouts to visitors in line at the LISI house.

Sandra Violand, architecture student at Vienna University of Technology, which won first place in the Communications Contest, offers the team’s handout to visitors at the entrance of the LISI house. Voiland also wears the handout, which not only offers information about the team’s Solar Decathlon entry but can also be folded into a wearable crown. (Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

“As a second-time juror, I was blown away by the amount of work and creativity the 2013 entries showed in their communications efforts,” said Communications Contest juror Mark Walhimer of Museum Planning LLC.  “The top teams represented a very high level of sophistication in their brand building.”

Second place in the Communications Contest went to University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Middlebury College took third place.

Walhimer said that the most successful teams in the Communications Contest were able to portray a lifestyle brand rather than merely conveying the technical features of their houses.

Engineering Contest results and the overall winner of Solar Decathlon 2013 will be announced tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 12.

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