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University of Maryland Wins Prestigious Architecture Contest

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

By Carol Anna

Before a packed auditorium today at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, the University of Maryland took first place in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Architecture Contest.

“WaterShed achieves an elegant mix of inspiration, function, and simplicity. It takes our current greatest challenges in the built environment—energy and water—and transforms them into opportunities for spatial beauty and poetry while maintaining livability in every square inch,” said Architecture Contest Juror Michelle Kaufmann.

New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington) claimed second place for First Light, its modern interpretation of the traditional New Zealand holiday home, the Kiwi bach.

Appalachian State University received third place for its Solar Homestead, which features outdoor living spaces.

“This year’s teams have managed to raise the bar even higher and have made the job of judging the Architecture Contest extremely difficult for the jury, which tried to find the subtle distinction that separates first from second, and second from third,” Kaufmann said. “The top three projects span the globe; each celebrating its unique regional influences and climatic differences.”

For the Architecture Contest, the jury evaluated the houses on:

  • Architectural elements that include the scale and proportion of room and facade features, indoor/outdoor connections, composition and linking of various house elements
  • Holistic design, meaning an architectural design that will be comfortable for occupants and compatible with the surrounding environment
  • Lighting, assessing the integration and energy efficiency of electrical and natural light
  • Inspiration as reflected in a design that inspires and delights Solar Decathlon visitors
  • Documentation that includes drawings, a project manual, and an audiovisual architecture presentation that accurately reflect the constructed project on the competition site.

For full scoring details, visit the Architecture Contest scores page.

Carol Anna is the communications manager of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

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