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Solar Decathlon 2017

ARCH Undergraduate & Graduate Option Studio SP17

Pre-construction / Making formliners for exterior envelope


This studio involves the pre-construction of a house for the Solar Decathlon 2017 competition. During F16 the SD studio focused on the design development & construction documents phases of the competition, based on the conceptual design produced in the design studios in F15 and further refinement performed during SP16.

This studio increases the students’ understanding of real construction facts by actively interacting with professionals of the building industry. The house is constructed out of precast concrete panels manufactured by several precast companies. Gate Precast, Dukane, St. Louis Prestress and Enterprise are all key industry partners in this project. The semester includes trips to and from these and other partners to test and produce building components and systems and learn hands-on methods of executing prefabricated building parts.

Students participate in the construction process of a complex and prototypical assembly for the building. The building envelope employs UHPC (Ultra High Performance Concrete) integrated with conventional precast concrete. Foundations, floor and roof slabs as well as other components are materialized using precast concrete, while the interior core is constructed out of light gage steel. Design work must address prefabrication and mass-customization of building components while incorporating highly creative and digital fabricated details. As part of the design build nature of the project, in this studio students dedicated a significant amount of time in the design and fabrication of urethane rubber formliners for the exterior concrete envelope of the house.

While the studio focusses in the construction of the house, students further develop the design and construction of the interior of the building as well as the exterior / outdoor spaces. Students also participate in the selection and assembly of the mechanical systems and PV panels technologies in conjunction with those students taking concurrent seminars and independent studies led by other faculty members where specific issues are being covered.


Faculty Leaders

Yin, Hongxi / Faculty Project Leader

Moyano Fernandez, Pablo / Faculty Project Designer

Ryan Abendroth: Faculty Project Manager

Michels, Tim / Faculty Building Systems Specialist



Henry, Chad / Financial Manager

Meyer, Debbie / Corporate Relations Specialist

Chazen, Courtney


Undergraduate students:

Stein, Jayne

Griffin, Aria


Graduate students:

Avalos, Percy

Cooksey, Ashlee

Ding, Yang

Goldberg, Adam

Lustig, Alex

Wang, Baoyue

Yao, Rui

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