Italy Wins The 2014 European Solar Decathlon With RhOME for DenCity.

Italy wins european solar decathalon Rhome DenCity
above: The winning design from the front, the RhOME for denCity

The Solar Decathlon was inaugurated in the U.S. in 2002 after an initiative taken by the US Dept. of Energy (DOE). Open to the public, the Solar Decathlon is a competition which unites the greatest universities from all over the world to compete by designing, building and operating a full-scale, entirely functional solar-powered house.


above: The winning design from the rear, the RhOME for denCity

The European edition takes place every two years and the 2014 competition was held in Versailles in a temporary and sustainable micro-city named La Cité du Soleil. The Decathlon judging is based on the evaluation of 10 contests with a total of 1,000 points. The prototypes are open to the public and judged by a panel of experts, all from specifically related fields.

Screenshot 2014-07-20 18.25.16

This year’s top honors went to Italy’s Team RhOME from UNIVERSITÁ DEGLI STUDI ROMA TRE, Dipartimento di Architettura, beating 19 other teams from around the world.


labimg_640_teamRhome
above: The RhOME team

The project RhOME for denCity, aims to redevelop the slums, through the construction of social housing low cost and high-performing to create tomorrow’s sustainable districts in energy, socially and economically.

plans-rhome-IIHIH

Here’s a  look at the exterior and the interior of the RhOME for denCity:

Rhome home 5 IIHIHRhome home 3 IIHIHRhome home 4 IIHIH Rhome home 7 IIHIHRhome home 6 IIHIHRhome home 8 IIHIH Rhome home 2 IIHIHRhome home 9 IIHIHRhome home 10 IIHIHRhome home 11 IIHIHRhome home 13b IIHIH Rhome home 13 IIHIH Rhome home 12 IIHIHRhome home 17 IIHIHRhome home 16 IIHIHRhome home 18 IIHIHRhome home 19 IIHIHRhome home 20 IIHIHRhome home 15 IIHIH Rhome home 14 IIHIH

RhOME with 840.63 points won the first prize, but also ranked in the following categories:
• Second place in Social Housing (CECODHAS prize- extra contest competition)
• First place in Social Housing for new constructions (CECODHAS prize – extra contest competition)
• First place in Lighting Design (extra contest competition)
• Second place in Architecture
• Fourth place in Energy Efficiency
• Fourth place in Sustainability
• First place in the House Functioning
• Second place in the Comfort Conditions
• Third place in Innovation

The official video for Solar Decathlon 2014 in Versailles:

The following is from the RhOME for denCity site:

Screenshot 2014-07-20 18.25.23

Architectural concept
Our idea of good house living is told here through a clear spatiality, the result of a tectonic concept. The space is articulated around the 3d core which is the plant and structural center of the house. This element hierarchizes and characterizes the space, defining the various areas of which the house is composed: the kitchen, the living room and the bedroom. The views open up to the south-west and to the north-east and are protected by loggias. The presence of the loggias in the two opposite corners ensures an original and versatile plan scheme, of which the versailles prototype is only one possible configuration. Specifically, in the competition the two main areas of the house relating to public life (living room) and the intimate life (bedroom) have direct contact with the outside world. In this way each one of these spaces receives the type of natural light suited to its function and in the phases of the day that compete to them. This condition also stands in terms of sustainability. In fact this result is not achieved exclusively working on the density (above all), on the use of solar and passive energy and on the optimal exposure to the sun and the wind. Attention has been paid to the choice of materials and of a technology that would reduce as much as possible.

The prototype of Versailles represents the top floor of the complex proposed for Tor Fiscale. This choice derives from the intention to describe the architectural features and technological innovations that would not appear in a common floor or in the ground floor, where the focus is on the integration with the urban environment. The prototype inherits the distribution system from the aggregation: the access is located on its side as in the urban configuration there is a central distribution core, which serves the apartments on both sides. During the contest this distribution pattern is conjured up by the public tour which valorizes freedom of the plan.

Architectural concept
Our idea of good house living is told here through a clear spatiality, the result of a tectonic concept. The space is articulated around the 3d core which is the plant and structural center of the house. This element hierarchizes and characterizes the space, defining the various areas of which the house is composed: the kitchen, the living room and the bedroom. The views open up to the south-west and to the north-east and are protected by loggias. The presence of the loggias in the two opposite corners ensures an original and versatile plan scheme, of which the versailles prototype is only one possible configuration. Specifically, in the competition the two main areas of the house relating to public life (living room) and the intimate life (bedroom) have direct contact with the outside world. In this way each one of these spaces receives the type of natural light suited to its function and in the phases of the day that compete to them. This condition also stands in terms of sustainability. In fact this result is not achieved exclusively working on the density (above all), on the use of solar and passive energy and on the optimal exposure to the sun and the wind. Attention has been paid to the choice of materials and of a technology that would reduce as much as possible.

Innovation
The first component of innovation at the building scale is typology. The building structure is conceived in order to allow for the maximum flexibility, and in particular the possibility of housing to modify and grow up according to the family needs. The intention behind the particualrly deep loggias is to allow future transformations and switching between rooms and loggias. The innovation in that sense is to think about the future transformation in the design phase, by anticipating several possible configurations. By anticipating, and allowing the future transformations the design can maintain its architectural concept and avoid illogical transformations driven by use needs. In addition to this “heavy” flexibility, based on the modifications of loggias, we introduced light flexibility in the facade appearance by using the Photovoltaic shading screens. Such innovation in architectural typology is strictly and directly connected to categories of target users currently neglected by the Real Estate market in Rome: Single people, temporary workers, young couples, old people that represent the new claim for mid-term stay, they need an apartment for months, or eventually few years. Today an increasing number of people don’t wish, or can buy their own home, because of the economical situation, or because the house represents an intentionally temporary solution due to several reasons. A new kind of architecture, in this case, meets an innovative dwelling demand.

Sustainability
In today’s world, respect for the environment means designing buildings that do not use an indiscriminate amount of energy, and are produced with renewable sources. In fact, the production of solar energy and the use of high efficiency systems are not enough to offset the waste produced during the entire lifespan of today’s buildings. Using an innovative style and advanced building methods, we focus on new scenarios of environmental sustainability concepts to optimize local climatic and material resources. One of the major climate typical problems of Rome is represented by the summer heat, so we resort to a series of passive strategies such as:
● Strategic morphing of the house; ● Design of the building envelope; ● Summer shading through loggias; ● Thermal inertia guaranteed by locally available and natural thermal masses; ● Natural ventilation through strategically located openings for cross ventilation.

Engineering
The structural behavior is systemic and its goodness depends on factors such as the inner coherence, harmony between parts, responsiveness to consolidated typologies, the quality of the constructive aspects, the reliability of mathematical models for the prediction and quantification of safety and so on. The structural system of the urban aggregate consists of a reinforced concrete first floor that supports further four floors and the covering of a lightweight wooden building, made with frame-wall technology (Platform Frame). The first floor in reinforced concrete is formed by a central core constituted by structural walls to which a 3D structural lattice of beams is stuck, always in reinforced concrete, that govern not only the first floor slab (in partially prefabricated reinforced concrete) but also the rest of the building. The foundation is being analyzed to find a typology that allows not to interfere with the archaeological heritage and makes the soil around the building as much hydraulically permeable as possible. The beams of the structural lattice of the first floor are characterized by variable sections, which allow the higher stresses due to vertical loads be moved to the core and meet the architectural principles of the project, limiting the height of the perimeter beams and defining a sort of structural “tray” that holds the building.

The choice of structural frame-wall typology (Platform Frame) is motivated by an attention for sustainability, lightness and quickness of installation. In fact, the system Platform Frame allows the building to respond adequately to the vertical and horizontal loads, but in Italy this system may be adopted only for buildings of limited height (three floors). To overcome these limitations we have chosen to use beams and columns in addition to the walls that will act as wind-bracing system, with steel Saint Andrew’s crosses integrated within them, when necessary.

all information and images courtesy of RhOME for denCity

2014 European Solar Decathlon Official site

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