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University of Maryland 2005 Solar Decatholon
Architectural Drawing


The Maryland Team views the Solar Decathlon as an opportunity to ask, and hopefully answer, questions about the way we live. How do our actions affect the environment and impact the future? What makes a "house" a "home?" What do the Vitruvian ideals of commodity firmness and delight mean for the 21st century? How do we integrate technology into our lifestyle? Inherent to this process we must not only question, but also challenge the framework of our own questions. This inquiry has led to an exploration of the very nature and meaning of the form and use of the house, its place in society, and relationship to the natural environment.

Our team has focused on exploring what the zeitgeist of our time is and how that can be translated into a house for this new century; a house for us. In this light, an imperative emerges to be innovative in our thought process and look beyond the traditions of building. Historical precedents have provided insights into what works as much as ideas that have never flourished or had negative impact. Sustainability is to us, not a product to be added onto a house, but a way of living. Our goal is to find design solutions that address the comprehensive needs of individuals, families, communities, and the planet.

Our inquiry dictates an integrated design approach incorporating architects, landscape architects, artist, craftsman and engineers. With this integration, the distinction between form, function, efficiency, and aesthetics ceases to exist and becomes one holistic inquiry. In the end, the question of how we can best house this world rests as much in how we can do so beautifully and harmoniously, as in how we can do so with technical expertise. Thus, our design will reflect innovative approaches to system use and integration, respect for architectural design vision, and abiding concern with providing a house that we would be proud to call our home.

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