In 2012, the Para Eco-House was unveiled as one of the 18 solar houses competing in the Solar Decathlon Europe, an international competition among universities which promotes research in the development of efficient housing.
The Para Eco-House, which was designed by Architecture students of Tongji University, China, is an exemplary specimen of modular, sustainable and efficient residential design, and even though it ranked 11th out of the 18 contestants, it was certainly one of more engaging entries.
Here’s how the team of Chinese Students describe it,
The “Para Eco-House” combines both parametric and ecological strategies into the logic of the architectural language used in the house design. Both ‘Passive’ and ‘Active’ energy systems are utilized in this project. Going beyond the functional and environmental requirements, we create a paradigm for a low carbon future.
Implementing their traditional Daoist principles along with contemporary ones, the Chinese team developed their design of the Para Eco-House with a combination of both ‘Passive’ and ‘Active’ systems to achieve energy independence and sustainability.
Structurally, The Para Eco-House is modular. It consists of logitudinal 1.2m modules that allow for extension as well as flexibility in shape, form and massing.
The shell of the house is also well-insulated, with triple glazed windows, a roof topped with vegetation, a natural ventilation system and a parametric bamboo outer-layer wrapping the core, or the “living box”, as it is referred to. A set of 42 solar panels is used to maximize efficiency and a water recovery system covers all household utilities.
Its quite inspiring, not only because of the quality of design and construction, but, because the project was developed by Architecture Students. The competition is obviously a great outlet for their creativity and offers a good opportunity for the students to experiment, (under the guidance of a project adviser of some sort) and build prototypes of the theoretical research and experimentation they’ve engaged in.
Its really great as it gives a platform to practicalise alot of the theories and ideas that the students have in a competitive atmosphere. It would be great to see something like this come down to Africa.
To get a full, detailed description of the systems, design and engineering that went into building the Para Eco-House prototype, go here.