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Photo of man announcing the winner of the architecture competition.

Today, the winner of the Architecture contest was announced. Virginia Tech took home the honors.

Photo of a dinner hosted by the Madrid team.

I had the pleasure of dining with several teams at a dinner hosted by the Madrid team.

Solar Decathlon 2005

Daily Journal — October 10, 2005

This was the biggest day yet at the Decathlon. Once again, thousands of people came to view the houses, but the breaking news today was the announcement of winners in the Dwelling and Architecture contests.

This morning you could feel the tension build in the village as the time drew closer to 10 a.m., the appointed hour for the announcements. Then, Katherine Salant, chairperson for the Dwelling panel of judges, stepped up to the microphone to announce the top four teams in the Dwelling contest.

"This represents a different way to think about living in the house. You walk in and say, wow, this is really different, but this is great!" Salant was talking about the Virginia Tech house, the winner of the Dwelling contest. Cal Poly finished a close second. The Dwelling judges commended the level of workmanship throughout the Cal Poly house, calling it a really professional job. Closer still was third place, with a tie between New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) and University of Texas. The Dwelling judges were looking for livability and marketability in the houses.

Then came the Architecture contest, with Juror Sarah Susanka doing the announcing honors. This jury was looking for design strength, generosity of space, and delightful surprises. With 200 points going to the Architecture winner, it is a prized award. Speaking to all the Decathletes about all of the houses, Susanka said: "I was stunned by what you have done. I was extremely pleased by what you have accomplished."

The Architecture jury also placed Virginia Tech first. "Everything about this house is wonderful. It took my breath away," Susanka said. Cal Poly again finished second. The judges pronounced their exterior beautiful, with a simple interior that is pleasing and has some elegant finishes. "It's not difficult to imagine that this house could be easily mass-produced," she said. There was another third-place tie, with NYIT and Cornell sharing the honors.

So we now have results and the Solar Decathlon scores and standings is working. Here is the ranking for today's top five:

  1. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  2. California Polytechnic State University
  3. New York Institute of Technology
  4. Cornell University
  5. University of Texas at Austin

We encourage the Decathletes who didn't place high today to take heart. There are many contests left totaling 800 points and plenty of time to make up ground. At the inaugural Decathlon in 2002, the University of Colorado was standing fifth after the Architecture contest. And they went on to win the competition.

Tomorrow's scores and standings will likely change, so stay tuned.

I had the pleasure to have dinner with the Madrid team tonight. Each team has to cook a full meal each evening as part of the contest. As I dined with the team eating their Spanish cuisine I imagined being in Madrid with a typical family. It was easier than flying over an ocean! The team cooked bean stew and served sweet salad, fruit ice cream, and iced tea. The meal and pleasant company of the Spanish decathletes was the highlight of a long and eventful day — one I will always remember.

Reporting from the village,
Richard King, Department of Energy