fluxHome™ at the Solar Decathlon: Those are Some Big LEGOs

LPA Inc. designer and USC Architecture School alum gives insider information of the Solar Decathlon competition entry.By Guest Blogger Christine Tanguay

Today, Oct. 3 marks the opening day of the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition, held at the Orange County Great Park (OCGP). In my previous post, From Architecture Fiction to Architecture Fact: Lessons from the Solar Decathlon, I introduced the Solar Decathlon competition and Team USC’s goals in participating. At that time, the house was under construction on the USC campus with the singular hope that we would be able to get it to OCGP in one piece. Well, three pieces to be exact.

Team USC’s fluxHome™ was preemptively designed with the knowledge that it would need to be mobile, as per the contest regulations. So when we designed our model, we combined sustainable design principles with pre-fabrication and transportability. This resulted in three LEGO-shaped blocks that can be transported on three large trucks, allowing fluxHome™ to be placed on any site and transform to meet the changing needs of modern families. The flexible, LEGO-inspired design celebrates the concept of change with a strategy of adaptability, openness and integration—making it an innovative and affordable model for sustainable living and smart growth.

The infographic below depicts these three modular pieces and provides some insight on how we were inspired by everyday objects—Southern California tract homes, LEGO pieces and more—to create such a unique design.

The highly anticipated transportation day came on Monday, Sept. 23—the official start for Solar Decathlon 2013 participants. Our team members arose in darkness at 3 a.m. to meet at the college campus, collect the three disassembled modules that comprise fluxHome™ and drive them to the OCGP. Construction kicked off at 7 a.m., with excited students working vigorously to reassemble their homes. By the end of Day One, fluxHome™ was completely reassembled and ready to be patched and primed for show and tell.

Stay tuned for next week, when we check in after the first weekend of the Solar Decathlon competition, and we’ll introduce how an integrated design process takes fluxHome™ beyond energy efficiency using our planet's natural resources.

LPA Inc. designer and USC Architecture School alum gives insider information of the Solar Decathlon competition entry.

Christine Tanguay, LEED AP BD+C, is a Technical Designer for integrated sustainable design firm, LPA Inc., and specializes in K-12 facilities.

Click to receive Integrated Sustainable Design in your inbox