Engaging Engineering and Architectural Students in the Integrated Design Process (IDP) for a Competition Entry Demonstration House – the Solar Decathlon

Since April of 2003, a group of students from Concordia University and Université de Montréal has been preparing their entry to the Second Solar Decathlon competition to be held in September 2005. Their goal is to design, build and operate the most attractive and effective solar-powered house that also sets a considerable standard in sustainable design. Some of the technologies to be integrated into the architectural design include solar electricity (photovoltaics), advanced windows, solar domestic hot water and battery storage; at the same time, other less high tech concepts (such as buffer zone spaces, Trombe wall, thermal mass, and natural daylighting) are to be transparently incorporated. Additional ecological strategies include the attempt to reduce embodied energy, recuperate and recycle rainwater, and design for growth and change. This paper will present the experience from the first year design process. The complexity of bringing together students from totally different backgrounds and institutions is not unlike the situation of some architect-engineer forced-relationships found in practice, and the interaction process will be described and analyzed.