Thursday, May 13, 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Summer Schematics

Decathlon studio begins!  

We'll select our team leaders and our main areas of contribution --and then we'll get to work:  We need to produce a Schematic Design Manual and a Preliminary Cost Estimate.  Our first deliverables are due impossibly soon:  May 4th.  Didn't we just have final reviews?? 

The good news:  Field Trip!  Schematic Design Workshop ahead --in Washington DC


SD team

First day....!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We have a SITE on the National Mall!

It's Final Review day, but we barely have time to focus on everything that's due.   Instead,  Decathlon is what's on everyone's mind --and we're off to a fast start!!  

Yesterday we were randomly assigned 4th choice in the site selection process for the Mall.  So at 10:45 AM today [EST] we had 15 minutes to choose any spot we wanted along Decathlete Way.  

And.... We chose Lot 102!  

We're going to be at the East end of the promenade, with northern and eastern exposures to public view.  We're also just in front of the Smithsonian Castle.  It's a cool site!


... For communication over the next 18 months with the competition organizers, we have to join a Yahoo group.  We now have a Yahoo ID and an account --just for FIU.

Byron Stafford at NREL told us that our model made it through the shipping process to Colorado beautifully in March!  Kudos to Manny and Andy who made that happen! 

Even MORE:

There will be a Schematic Design Workshop [to review our first Decathlon deliverable] in May --in Washington DC.  We'll get to meet all the competing teams and the Decathlon organizers!

PLUS:  All the boards and models of the 20 selected finalists will be on display in a special exhibit at the National Building Museum.

Whew!  Amazzzing....!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


We're going to Washington in 2011 !!!

Second hurdle cleared!!!  Professor Nepomechie was just notified that we're one of only 20 teams around the world chosen to participate in Solar Decathlon 2011!!  Go FIU!!!!

Final reviews are coming and we have a ton to do, but what a GREAT way to end the term. 

Kickoff conference call with DOE, NREL and all the competing teams:  
14 April 2010, 3:00PM.  [1:00 PM Mountain Time --they're based in Colorado] 

We all have to join a group on Yahoo for all team information and communication from now till the competition in 2011.

This is getting real, folks... 

Monday, March 15, 2010


Repro took forever to print and mount our board !  Ever notice how everything seems to take   longer when you're in a hurry?   

We changed it a million times, but here's the final board as submitted

And here's the model.............  
The FIU PerFORM[D]ance House is born!

FedEX took forever, too --and they were SO was glad to get rid of us!

Notice the time on the wall clock????  That's 7:50 PM:  10 minutes to closing

March 15, 2010

(L-R) Marilys, Andy, Roberto and Manny at the Coral Gables FedEX.  Exhausted!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Well, it's officially Spring Break, but we have a ton of work to do!   Our conceptual design models and revised drawings are due at NREL on March 16th!

All finalists and all faculty advisors --and anyone who wants to help!!-- are coming together to make revisions to the chosen project, to build a new model, to revise the drawings, revise the cost estimate... 

We have special permission to use the computer lab and laser cutter even though it's officially closed for the break.  The package needs to go out, at the latest, on Monday March 15.  

No sleep for anyone! 

March 13, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Today was the day....!  An outside jury of sustainable design professionals chose from all the student projects the one(s) they thought would represent us best at the 2011 Decathlon.

The JURY:  Thorn Grafton [Zyscovich , Inc.]; Mikael Kaul [Kaulium]; Alejandro Branger [Perkins + Will]; Yimin Zhu [FIU COE]; Roberto Rovira [FIU Landscape Architecture]

The Requirements:  A model at 1/4" = 1'-0", and a board folded according to DOE rules describing the project.  

The Process:  No presentations.  The jury viewed boards mounted gallery style in all the jury rooms and selected the 3 projects they liked best.  Authors:  Manny Dorticos, Mohammed Shanti, Isis Fumero

The 3 students whose work was chosen presented their projects and answered jury questions in the Reading Room. Then the jury deliberated, voted, and announced the winner:  Manny!

Now the work begins....  Conceptual design DUE at NREL in 1 week!!

March 9, 2010 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Engawa: Solar Decathlon 2005

Today all the participating studios --in architecture, landscape and interior design visited Engawa, the FIU 2005 Solar Decathlon house.  Amazing to think that students designed and built this!  Can't wait for us to build one, too.

The 2005 house now resides in the College of Engineering Campus  as a Sustainable Design laboratory.  'Engawa' is a Japanese word meaning unity between inside and outside.  FIU won first place in the Energy Balance competition that year.  Professor Zhu gave us all a tour through the house and explained the ideas behind the first FIU Decathlon project.


bedroom.jpg                      dining.jpg

January 22, 2010

J005 we brought the Engawa house to Washington and won first place in the Energy Balance Competition. “Engawa” is a Japanese architectural term meaning a unity between the interior and exterior. This is exemplified by the simplicity of the plan and the glass fa├žade, which can be opened to create a unified living space.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First Hurdle Cleared!!

We're shortlisted!!  

We just found out that FIU is one of 45 schools from around the world invited to continue to Stage 2 of the U.S. Department of Energy 2011 Solar Decathlon Competition.  NOW, it's beginning to feel like a race:  It's a design project!  We have until next March to design an innovative, affordable, beautiful solar house that represents Miami (our city), South Florida (our region), and FIU --our university!

Graduate Design 9 is dedicated entirely to sustainable design, so it's the perfect place in the architecture curriculum for Decathlon:   Professor Nepomechie is coordinating Grad 9 this year. Students in all 3 Grad 9 studio sections are invited to participate an internal design competition to find the best possible proposal.   

We've also invited students in many other departments to join us on Team FIU.  We need everyone's expertise!  Welcome to new friends in Landscape Architecture, Interior Design, Civil/ Environmental, Mechanical, Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as Construction Management... !  

Jan 20, 2010