Skip navigation to main content. U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon | Powered by the Sun
Photo of Florida International's Solar Decathlon 2005 house in its permanent location on the university's campus. Enlarge image

Engawa enjoys blue skies over the Florida International University campus.
(Courtesy of Florida International University)

Who: Florida International University
What: Engawa
Florida International University
10555 West Flagler St.
Miami, FL 33172
Map This House

Public tours: Not available

Solar Decathlon 2005

Florida International University: Weathering the Storm

Student decathletes from Florida International University built Engawa for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2005. After the competition, they reconstructed the house near the engineering building on Florida International University's campus. They also made several improvements, including an interior remodel, an Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant deck addition, and a geothermal system installation.

Named for the strip of floor that lies next to windows and storm shutters in traditional Japanese rooms, Engawa needed storm shutters of its own when it endured hurricanes Rita and Katrina during the final months leading up to the Solar Decathlon.

Unfortunately, Engawa was delivered to the Miami campus the day after Hurricane Wilma—another Category 5 storm—made landfall in Florida. The university closed for a week. Most of Broward County was without power for two weeks. Despite this additional setback, Engawa again weathered the storm beautifully.

"The story does have a happy ending," says Stephanie Strange, associate director of the Office of Student Access and Success at Florida International University's College of Engineering and Computing. "Every team has a major disaster to deal with, but they all come out better in the end. Teaching students that is better is than anything they can learn in a classroom."

Engawa remains actively involved in community outreach as well as academic research. More than 1,000 children tour the house as part of the engineering expo held on campus each year.

The USA Future House joined Engawa’s former competitor—the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid's Magic Box—as part of Beijing’s Future House Exhibition from 2008 until 2014.