Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
The team’s Refract House is designed like a bent tube wrapped around a courtyard; its shape controls the entry of light. Massive windows let in the sun not just to light the home, but provide a spatial connection to the outdoors. The team, comprised of students from Santa Clara University and the California College of the Arts, took first place in the decathlon’s architectural design competition.
Preet Anand, a senior at Santa Clara University, said the team’s goal was to show that solar houses don’t require compromise — neither in performance nor in aesthetics.
“Most green buildings are boxes. If you have a box and I have a box and my barber has a box, then your home no longer feels like yours, it looks like your neighbor’s,” he said. “We want to show, this can go mainstream, and that starts with a home that is unique, that is yours.”