Solar Decathlon…[natural fusion]


The Solar Decathlon is a worldwide student competition. The 2009 Penn State team consisted of students from across the university, architects, engineers, landscape architects, marketers, and construction managers. Working as a team and in specialized groups, we communicated across disciplines to design and construct a two person home powered entirely by the sun.

The Natural Fusion home is intended to be one with its surroundings. Not only does the home draw its energy from the sun, but the overall scheme literally opens up to nature. The highlight of this scheme is the south wall with four bays of opening windows. The occupants can move freely from interior living to outdoor deck. The furniture is designed to be as flexible as the floor plan to help accommodate for limited space. The student designed and built furniture moves from inside to outside with the occupant’s lifestyle.

We sought for our design to not only reach out to nature, but for nature to enter the home. The central heart of our design was the life well, an interior green wall separating the kitchen and bathroom. The prototypical water wall came to life, thriving in the most mechanical parts of the design. The green life provided herbs for the kitchen, controlled humidity of the bathroom, and beautified the understanding of design concept.

Team Leader: Kyle Macht

Architecture Project Managers: Daniel Sutton and Richard Kelly

US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011