Wednesday, January 7, 2009

BeauSoleil Solar Home

Solar Decathlon Update: Every two years 20 university teams are chosen, based on proposals, to design an all-solar home and assemble it on the National Mall in Washington DC for public viewing and judging. Check back each Wednesday as the NAV Blog reports on the process of the design and construction of BeauSoleil, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's entry. For more info about the project, visit their website at ttp:// And check out short film about the project here:

Over the next few weeks, the NAV blog will post Q & A from a recent interview with TEAM BeauSoleil.

NAV blog - Conceptually, what’s different about the design of this prototype than, say, the way builders currently think of a typical tract home? And are there any similarities?

Jeremy Credeur, TEAM BeauSoleil - We considered the design of this home on various fronts, such as making this a home for Louisiana, not a cheap knock of an Acadian style house bat a home that respects the history of our state and works in the area it was designed for, secondly we investigated the environmental aspects and impacts this house will have, third we factored in the market viability of the home in our community and in the surrounding communities. This consideration of community and place is the big difference in the design of this versus a typical tract house.

NAV blog - What makes your prototype specifically appropriate for where it is on the planet?

Catherine Guidry, TEAM BeauSoleil - As technology and times have changed, it is now considered acceptable to see a home of any character and form exist almost anywhere in the world. A homeowner can tell their builder that they would like a California home in New York, and there would be no road-block stopping them from doing exactly this: except for thoughts on green design. Sustainable design is not only about durability and longevity of the building, but also, taking into account weather conditions, materiality, form, topography, and social and cultural aspects of the area.

The BeauSoleil Home has done exactly that. In designing this self-sufficient/solar powered home, we have taken into great consideration each aspect listed above and more. The roof form of the BeauSoleil home derived not only from the traditional gable roof form of the south, but as a direct response to the large amount of rainfall in Louisiana every year. The contemporary flat roofs of previous solar decathlon homes simply would not be successful here in Louisiana, which is ultimately the primary site of the BeauSoleil home. In addition, the standing seam metal roof, hurricane-resistant shutters, polycarbonate track doors and roof above the transitional porch, cypress clad rainscreen, and structurally insulated wall panels are all attempts to withstand and ventilate the hurricanes of the southern region.

The design of the BeauSoleil home is inspired by successful precedents of the region such as the dog trot and shot gun homes of New Orleans. As a result, the home could be sited in rural, suburban, and urban areas such as New Orleans. In addition, the culture of our region shines through in the form of the BeauSoleil home as well as the local materials used such as recycled heart pine flooring and cypress cladding. Our rotating track doors, bifold garage door, and mosquito screens allow for flexibility in the Transitional porch for dining and entertaining, as well as the opportunity to spend time outside which is so important to people who live here.

We feel that the BeauSoleil home belongs in the southern region, so we have made those strides and efforts to design that way.


Anonymous said...

just a tiny criticism or two. the thing about the shotgun house on which beasoleil is aparently based especially when they're shoehorned together in a place like the ninth ward...practically piled on top of each other little different from a trailer park...i dont think this can ever really work to make a charming environment in which to live and be. and its certainly not the beausoliel designers fault. what we need now to happen is for architecture to get together with neighborhoods and zoning boards - to get the three working together to really come up with something which finally succeeds in creating pleasant garden like dwellings with just the right mix of privacy and community.

Anonymous said...

This house is not in New Orleans. Why build a house that uses New Orleans influences?