Protypes of sustainable, self-sufficient homes
are on display this week on the National Mall in Washington,
This week, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is host to the
Solar Decathlon competition, a national showcase for sustainable
self-sufficient home prototypes created by university architecture
and engineering students from across the country. This year,
Louisiana University at Lafayette offers an entry inspired by the
disastrous impact of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, but also
infused with the cultural and architectural tradition of Cajun
country. Like all entries in the Decathlon, the BeauSoleil entry is
designed with modular components, able to be transported to the
Mall in D.C., set up on site for viewing by the public, then
dismantled and moved to another location for permanent use. See a
time-lapse video of the building's construction here.
Also like other houses in the competition, the BeauSoleil
Louisiana Solar Home has advanced solar technology intended to
support off-grid performance. And with the lessons of 2005's
devastating storms fresh in their minds, the team has equipped the
house with wind-resistant structure and claddings, and with the
ability to tie into an elevated foundation, above flood waters.
But the house also includes such touches as outdoor porches and
decks, to allow residents to engage in the community-oriented
house-party social life typical of southern Louisiana. There's a
big kitchen that can serve as the focus for family get-togethers.
And there's a new high-tech take on the traditional "dog-trot"
center gallery typical of the French Colonial vernacular —
with a glass wall that folds back to allow unfettered access to the
For video of the Team BeauSoleil effort, check out YouTube
. And for
more information, take a tour of the team's website