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Building Innovation

College & Department

School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation


Amy Gardner
Julie Gabrielli

Semester Offered

Fall 2006

Course Description

Continuation of the University’s participation in the Solar Decathlon enterprise for the 2007 event.

The course will be taught in collaboration with ENCE 489A & G. Arch and Engr Groups formed in the course will be expected to establish clear and regular meeting times, and to report the contents of those meeting times through progress in team projects.

The course takes up the themes of Arch 673 Building Culture, with a specific focus on the design and detailing of a small sustainably crafted house—the UMD Solar Decathlon 2007 House. The reason for the change of course number from Arch 673 to Arch 478X is to allow for a broader audience and a focus on the SD2007 House.

The work of this class will build on what others have done over the past eight months. Much of your work will be done as part of a small team, intensely focusing on a specific aspect of the design. As such, it will be critical to be always aware of how that part relates to the whole. Each moment of your research, exploration, analysis and synthesis is an opportunity to have design input.

In addition to working within a small team, you will be interacting with your architecture colleagues and the engineering students from ENCE 489A & 489G. Professional mentors from a wide variety of disciplines will join us for crit sessions, workshops and progress reviews. In all, you can expect a rich experience in a truly interdisciplinary, integrated design team. There will be a great deal of back-and-forth in this necessarily iterative process of testing and refinement of ideas.

While a good bit of the work will have a tangible, even practical, goal, your work will be underpinned by a solid foundation of theory about intention and craft in architecture:

Comprehension of major themes, theories, and techniques in the development of architectural building craft and corresponding value systems will be developed through several means:

  •  Studying case histories and theories of building craft
  •  Studying principles of building science and sustainable building principles
  • Putting the above into action through the detailing of the UM Solar Decathlon LEAFHouse.

We will:

  • explore definitions of technology.
  • explore the tasks of architecture and how they are made manifest in building craft.
  • explore basic themes in the development of building technique.
  • explore basic themes in the development of building technologies, building science, and sustainability in architecture.
  • demonstrate and apply knowledge in crafting the Construction Documents of the DOE/NREL Solar Decathlon house.




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