Georgia Tech Goes to Brooklyn

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! The blizzard down south may have postponed the Georgia Tech School of Architecture students’ initial plans for a field trip back in January, but nothing could stop them from making it to NYC this time!

Led by professor Michael Gamble, the studio of grad students toured real urban dwellings, pre-fab housing and an architecture firm in Brooklyn last week.

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First stop? Navy Green Supportive Housing Building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard!

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Question: How many people can you fit into a 300 square foot micro-apartment?

Answer: A lot more than you think!

Answer: A lot more than you think!

Put on your hard-hats, it's time for a Capsys tour!

Put on your hard hats, it’s time for a Capsys tour!

Step into modular housing

Step into a modular housing assembly line…

A modular apartment is born

… and an apartment is born!

Building 92 - Bklyn Navy Yard

We took a lunch break at sustainable BLDG 92 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Last stop? A brisk stroll to DUMBO to visit nArchitects (winner won the Bloomberg administration’s adAPT competition for the My Micro project). No photos allowed due to top secret (and fabulous) architecture plans… but we got an exclusive peek!

A big thank you to everyone that made this trip a success — especially the teams at Navy Green Supportive Housing Building designed by Curtis + Ginsberg, Capsys, nArchitects, and CHPC for going above and beyond! Plus a special thanks to Diana Budds of Dwell Magazine and Tricia Napor of Alcoa Foundation for their support.

10 Tips to Keep Guests Coming Back

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Entertaining visitors goes beyond tasty treats and great conversation – it’s about offering them a comfortable and relaxing space to enjoy company! Here are 10 planning and decorating ideas that create an inviting space for your guests that’ll be sure to make your next get-together a successful soiree.

1. Slipcovers are your friend. Select durable fabrics for your interiors that can stand up to all the activity of friends and family. Snow from the slopes or sand from the beach is inevitably going to find its way indoors – let your fabric do the heavy lifting so you don’t have to worry. All of our sofa wall beds come slip covered for easy fabric removal and care.

2. Bring the outdoors in! What better way to kill two birds than with furniture that works just as well indoors as it does out! Our Kente dining chairs and Babylon stacking chairs are every bit as appropriate around the dining table as they are on the deck, and no need to check if anyone’s still wearing a damp bathing suit.

3. Go BOLD. Vacation homes are an opportunity to use a color palette or print you wouldn’t dare to try in your everyday setting, so embrace the fun! Bring in decorating ideas like geometrics or stripes and don’t be afraid to mix and match bold colors. We have a plethora of fabric and finish options to choose from, and our designers on staff can hold your hand as they expertly guide you out of your comfort zone.

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4. Expect the unexpected. Chances are company will manage to follow you to your getaway abode, sometimes when you least expect it. Be ready with back-up sleeping solutions like the Lollisoft bunk bed and extra seating like our magical Cubista so no one has resort to the floor.

5. Make room for one (or many!) more at the table. What better way to welcome unexpected company than with a dining table that expands to suit the evening’s needs! The Goliath Table starts off as a compact console table, but grows to seat four, or six, or eight, or ten with each added leaf. No need to turn guests away when flexible furniture easily makes room for more at a moment’s notice.

6. Everyone deserves a little space. A vacation home can bring everyone together, but don’t underestimate the need for a little privacy sometimes, too. Though we’d never admit it out loud, sharing every minute of every day together can get old quick, let’s face it! Why not preserve everyone’s nerves by designing private space into every bedroom. Consider using a sofa wall bed like the Nuovoliola that folds up during the day and turns a bedroom into a private den? Your guests will (secretly) thank you.

7. Too many cooks. One of the best parts of sharing a vacation home is that there are too many chefs for one kitchen! That’s right, you don’t have to do it all. You don’t even have to do most of it. If you’re lucky, you can get away with doing nothing more than telling funny jokes and opening bottles of wine because your guests are fighting for a spot at the stove to show off their favorite family recipes. In times like this, you’ll need plenty of comfy barstools and perching spots for the friends who aren’t on cooking duty, and that’s where the Live Stacking Barstool comes into play. Unstack and spread out around the kitchen to keep your guests company before dinner, stack them back up and place them in the corner when dinner is ready to serve. Genius.

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8. Make organizing easy. No one wants to worry about tidying when they’re on vacation, so make it a breeze with plenty of storage for everything from gloves and hats to sunblock and bug spray. Nothing could make this easier than the Giralot cubbie tower. Put one by the front door for gear, another in the bathroom for toiletries, and a third in the kitchen for gluten free granola bars and everyone will thank you for it.

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9. Playing Musical Bedrooms is a great way to make your vacation home feel bigger than it really is. By turning every room into a guest bedroom, it breaks down the hierarchy between host and guest, and allows you to experience a new adventure every time you go away. Make sure to keep the kids in the rotation, too!

10. Keep an open…concept. We’ve already covered the need for a little privacy on vacation, but the rest of the time is meant to be spent all together cooking and hanging out. There’s no better way to achieve maximum quality time than with an open kitchen/dining/living room concept. Try floating a sofa in the middle of the room to divide the space. Our double-sided Grid Sofa is absolutely ideal, but if your space won’t allow something quite so big, at least make sure to have a sofa with a wide, sturdy structure built for perching on from all angles.

A little snow won’t stop Wonder Women!

A little snow and cold temperatures didn’t stop us from celebrating the fabulous Debora Spar and her new book “Wonder Women: Sex, Power and the Quest for Perfection.” Do women have to “have it all”? Heck no! In her book, Debora discusses the high standards that society places on women — and the impossibility to reach them.

With mulled wine in hand to warm up, Debora Spar and Lyss Stern of Diva Moms – along with the wonder women (and men!) — braved the cold to talk about being a woman.

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Debora + Lyss = Wonder Women!

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Debora Spar - Wonder Women: Sex, Power and the Quest for Perfection

Debora signing her book for our new friend Randi Zinn!

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Make your own mulled white wine! We used this yummy recipe and our showroom was smelling very warm and inviting — plus, it was delicious.

Serves 4-6
750ml white wine
1 thick orange slice, studded with 4 cloves
2 tbsp honey, or more to taste
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 cardamom pods, bruised
1cm-thick slice fresh ginger
75ml apple brandy

Add everything but the brandy to a pan and heat slowly until almost simmering. Turn off the heat. Leave for 20 minutes. To serve, heat until warm and add the brandy. Mix well and enjoy!

Georgia Tech is Filled With Really Smart People

OK, Georgia Tech ZED-H Studio students: now that I have caught my breath after a wonderful, whirlwind trip to Atlanta, allow me to say a hearty and heartfelt BRAVO!!!! And WOW. I really can’t say that enough.

So what brought Resource Furniture to Atlanta?

Well, it was partially the lure of some really good food, but there’s actually more to the story:

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Way back in February, an amazing young Atlanta-based architect, Stephen Taul visited the wildly popular Citizens Housing & Planning Council exhibition Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers at the Museum of the City of New York. He was so inspired by the information and the exhibition (and the Clei/Resource Furniture micro-apartment, of course) that he hatched an ingenious plan: to discuss the issues surrounding changing urban demographics (yes, even in Atlanta) and the bring the concept of “micro” design to the architecture students at his alma mater, Georgia Tech School of Architecture.

The department was already engaged in a Zero Energy Design Housing studio, which focused on multi-story, residential building site planning, exterior design, and energy systems design – with little room to drill down and discuss who the intended occupants are and how they really live.

So after some fun conversations about multi-functional spaces, furniture design, micro-apartments and efficient living concepts (with me) and housing and demographics (with Sarah Watson of CHPC), Stephen was inspired to develop a course that integrates an understanding of changing demographics, efficient interior design and ergonomics into the program – a very novel concept for an architecture department – and right up our alley. Assisted by a gift from Resource Furniture (and the other sponsors listed below) to the School of Architecture, Stephen was able to bring this vision to reality and today 21st Century Housing: Making Room in the Contemporary City is the latest design and research studio at Georgia Tech.

Not only will this added discussion round out the students’ scope of studies, but Stephen knew (and so did we)  that if each interior area of a building is seen as an opportunity to create a multifunctional space – essentially asking for more function from every square foot and potentially reducing square footage throughout – there could be a measurably positive impact on overall building efficiency. Which is actually the whole point of the studio.

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Georgia Tech ZED-H Studio students and fall semester review panel – can you see the relief on their faces?

Resource Furniture is very proud to be a sponsor of this program along with Alcoa FoundationArchitecture for Humanity Pillars of Sustainable Education, and Southface - we are honored to be in such amazing company.

Dr. Sun Kim, Amelia Godfrey, Heather Woofter, Sarah Watson, Michael Gamble, Alix Ogilvy, Lisa Blecker

Fall Semester Review Panel: Dr. Sung Kim, Professor, Department of Architecture, University of Seoul; Amelia Godfrey, Southface; Heather Woofter, Chair, Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design, Washington University; Sarah Watson, Deputy Director, Citizens Housing & Planning Council; Michael Gamble, Architect & Associate Professor, Georgia Tech; Alix Ogilvie, Program Manager, Architecture for Humanity; and Lisa Blecker, Director of Marketing, Resource furniture. Dr. Steven French, Jason Brown and Tim Harrison from Georgia Tech were also part of the panel, but escaped before we took their picture.

THE WORK

The fall semester focused on Building to City/Energy to City.  Five teams presented their work. Teams varied in size from one person to three people. These photos cannot possibly do the work justice, but here they are (in no particular order)

TEAM BKM: Bunny Tucker, Madona Cumar, Kaitlyn Pahel

Don’t let the team color-coordination fool you (even though it was an awesome detail) – this was a seriously cool project and an enormous amount of work. I got really excited when they started talking about “bars”, but alas, they were not referring to that kind of bar. They designed a creative interior layout for literally everyone. While they didn’t have hard and fast data behind some of their decisions, they were incredibly creative in working through, analyzing and graphically communicating their information. I can’t wait to see how the interior spaces crystallize in the spring semester.

P.S. Sarah and I still want to see the cougar’s apartment.

Georgia Tech School of Architecture

Kaitlyn Pahel, Bunny Tucker, Madona Cumar

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Kaitlyn points out where the eternal bachelor will live

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A crazy site to work with

 

Team NJT: Namrata Dani, Junying Shi, Tyrone Marshall

Team NJT proposed a building comprised of combined/flexible live/work spaces – ingenious. And a current obsession of mine. It reminded me of one of my favorite entries in the 2013 Solar Decathlon from Team Alberta. The site chosen by Team NJT site was extremely challenging, and their building was really impressive. Hopefully, they will be able to dive deeper into who their target occupants are and fine-tune the interior spaces in the spring semester.

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Tyrone Marshall, Namrata Dani, Junying Shi

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The most beautiful model

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Team J2: James Van Horn, James Bramlett

These two designed the most beautiful addition to the Atlanta skyline. And they gave the neighborhood a grocery store (!), killer views both north and south in each apartment, and lots and lots of green spaces. There were a variety of apartment sizes, with the exception of small studios – they really felt that the micro-apartment model would not appeal to their target demographic, and they might be right (it’s not for everyone!). I’m looking forward to seeing how much more functional their homes will be once they research interior design a little more. And their renderings were gorgeous. Amazing job, guys.

James Van Horn, James Bramlett

James Van Horn, James Bramlett

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An entirely new Atlanta skyline

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Team EDA: Eli Damircheli

Ok, Eli – seriously – how did you do all that work by yourself? I was really impressed by Eli’s process – she was the only one who started exploring the interiors before the building. And she completely embraced the “city as community space” concept, integrating the street-level plaza as an integral part of her building. Her apartments were light-filled and because of the multi-level design and high ceilings, felt really spacious, despite the small footprint. Eli will need to figure out how to make the building ADA-compliant, and I’m glad that’s her job and not mine!

Her tenant, Phillipe is really hot, too.

Eli Damircheli

Eli Damircheli

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Team BBC: Nick Coffee, Jim Boyer, Katie Braswell

This team worked with the same site as Team BKM – a topographically difficult site for sure. But they had a completely different proposal than BKM, starting with the concept of the “urban carriage house.” The site is zoned to allow two structures on a single plot, and they took that to another level, designing two-unit apartments that could be owned by one household. They also integrated a townhouse section, which looked like a really great transition to the existing adjacent single-family-home neighborhood. They were also the only team to design with a mature occupant in mind – a very important segment of the population that will also need more flexible housing options! I encouraged them to think about the apartments as more flexible modules that could grow and shrink with changing lifestyles, and I have no doubt that they will be able to accomplish this – and more.

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Jim Boyer, Katie Braswell, Nick Coffee

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Such a cool model (it was worth the last minute gluing, Nick)

 

Alix Ogilvy and Sarah Watson hard at work

Alix Ogilvy and Sarah Watson hard at work

On behalf of everyone here at Resource Furniture, I would like to thank Michael Gamble, Stephen Taul, Dr. Steven French and the entire faculty of GT School of Architecture for allowing us to participate and contribute to this program.

ON ANOTHER NOTE ENTIRELY

Atlanta food rocks. We were practically on a Top Chef of Atlanta tour, but we only scratched the surface  - such great food with such great company.

I know.

I know.

Stalking Michael and Lee Ann Gamble

Stalking Michael and Lee Ann Gamble

Oysters and Pearls at The Spence

Oysters and Pearls at The Spence

Sarah and Lisa in Atlanta

Cheers, Atlanta!!! (we’ll be back)

Solar Decathlon: A Peek Into The Homes

The Solar Decathlon was smashing success! The teams spent almost two years designing and building their sustainable homes and the hard work paid off — the homes turned out beautifully. Congratulations to all of the teams for their great accomplishments. A special thanks to Cerraeh Laykin for the photography — despite battling the one rainy Southern California day of the year (sorry Cerraeh!).

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Live Blogging From the Solar Decathlon – Winner Just Announced!

Engineering winners being announced right now – very exciting!

It’s a three-way tie for Third Place in Engineering – Team Austria, North Carolina and Las Vegas! This means the competition for the overall winner will be extremely close.

Second place to the Czech Republic

And the First place Engineering award goes to Resource Furniture-sponsored Team Ontario!!!!! Big congratulations!!!

Team Ontario wins first place in Engineering!

Team Ontario wins first place in Engineering!

The next announcement is the big one – overall winner in a minute. Just announced – it’s the closest score ever in the Solar Decathlon.

The Solar Decathlon 2013 overall winners :

Third Place Overall Winner – Czech Republic

Second Place  - UN Las Vegas

And the Overall Winner is . . . Team Austria!!!!!!

Team Austria Solar Decathlon

Big congratulations to everyone.

 

SOLAR DECATHLON 2013 – Dispatch From the Final Weekend!

We’ve spent the past two weeks at Orange County Great Park supporting six amazing U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon teams. Truly fabulous hard work from each and every team — we could not be more thrilled to cheer them on. Congratulations!

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ASUNM rocks the LGM!

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Tied for first place in Affordability Norwich and . . .

. . . and Kentuckiana!

Team Ontario took home second place in Affordability!

Team Ontario took home second place in Affordability!

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Meeting Dale! from Sci-ARC/Caltech

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Sci-ARC/Caltech took it to another level by customizing the beds - awesome!

Sci-ARC/Caltech took it to another level!

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ASUNM

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Now for the two 1st place affordability winners… Kentuckiana and Norwich!! Solar Decathlon 095 (800x600) Solar Decathlon 109 (800x600) Solar Decathlon 113 (800x600)

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USC took home 3rd in Architecture . . .

. . . and celebrated with a balloon ride over Great Park!

. . . and celebrated with a balloon ride over Great Park!

The Scoop From City Modern Tour

We spent the weekend exploring the City Modern Home Tour throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Presented by New York Magazine and Dwell, we were very impressed by these innovative gems!

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This Lafayette townhouse used to be a ConEd switching station!

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Just your average everyday indoor pool porthole

Just your average, everyday indoor pool porthole!

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The architects was given specific instructions: no visible drains! I think he pulled it off.

The architect was given specific instructions: no visible drains! We think he pulled it off.

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That’s it for Manhattan . . . off to Brooklyn!

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Giving new meaning to the term “grass trumpets”

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Dispatch From IDS West

Resource Furniture Vancouver charmed visitors at IDS West last weekend. The event, at the Vancouver Convention Centre, showcased fabulous and unique (contortionists anyone?) design. We contributed our white Goliath table to the main feature Laneway home! The booth was bustling with activity and despite a few hurdles (thank you, customs) Resource Furniture Vancouver put that efficiency to good use and pulled it off — success!

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Lay back…

Get comfortable!

…and get comfortable!

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After a long weekend, it’s time for a rest… at IDS West!

Transforming ASUNM

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This blog was written by ASUNM team member Kevin Christensen at Arizona State University with a Master in Architecture.

5:30 A.M.: The Sun begins to break over the mountains in the distance, the air is still cool, the racket still hasn’t really started yet, it’s calm. The 3:30 A.M. wake up call is all but second nature at this point, it’s worth it for these few precious hours without the Sun’s relentless heat. Soon the sky will be a brilliant shade of orange, the power tools will start sounding more frequently and the day will be in full swing.

Outside, the team is formulating their plan for the day, already making a list for the first trip to Home Depot and taking measurements or checking a drawing. Today’s priorities: finishing up some fabrication on the solar canopy and doing some work on the chiller. Work begins and before we know it it’s time to take a quick break to show a VIP around the house.

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Inside, the crisp, white furniture — designed and manufactured in Italy by Clei — is newly repackaged, waiting for shipment in less than two weeks. It was quite a different story only a few days ago, all of the pieces were assembled and polished, eagerly being shown off during our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, often to the response of “Woah, that’s crazy” and “Wow, I wish my furniture could do that.” It was a fun moment to be able show off how well the furniture worked in the space, not to mention being able to finally have that feeling of “wow this actually looks like a house!”

SHADE aspires to be a model for sustainable desert living, and one of our initial concepts was being able to quickly transform the spaces in the house to be able to perform various functions. Having a smaller footprint, with more actively used re-configurable space not only means less material is needed to build the house and less energy is consumed than in traditional homes, but also means that users of the home can customize the space based on what is going on during any given day. Having some friends over for dinner? Easy, the Goliath dining table quickly expands from seating two people to comfortably fitting ten. Have a relative in town? Not a problem, the Flex Space easily accommodates this, the LGM Tavolo morphs from living room bookcase to bed in under 30 seconds and the sliding partition wall closes to make the once public space a private retreat. Want to host some neighbors on the large front patio? Everyone can have a seat thanks to the Cubista which goes from ottoman to seating for five in no time.

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SHADE aims to balance the desire for traditional amenities with forward looking view of how residential space can be occupied. We hope that by allowing the homeowner be in charge of how the home’s space functions, it allows for a more flexible lifestyle while simultaneously using less of our precious resources and building stronger communities.

Beyond the architectural strategies, SHADE aims to showcase several engineering features for sustainable desert living. For starters, the solar array easily produces enough energy to make the home net-zero; the capillary radiant cooling and heating system aim to make indoor life more comfortable by mimicking the way bodies naturally regulate heat and reducing indoor air contaminants associated with typical forced air systems; and the thermal storage unit, a rarity in such small applications, allows energy to be stored at night when electrical rates are low and used during the day when they are high.

Want to find out more about SHADE? Visit asunm.org and come tour the house in person at Solar Decathlon 2013! Find all of the details at solardecathlon.gov.

Resource Furniture & Norwich University

This blog was written by the Norwich Solar Decathlon Team. For more information please visit their website at solardecathlon.norwich.edu and “Like” their Norwich Solar Decathlon 2013 Facebook page.

Norwich University’s Delta T-90 House is a 996 square foot, two-bedroom home that is tuned for the unique seasons of the northeastern bioregion. The Delta T-90 home is designed to maintain a comfortable 70 degrees when exterior temperatures reach -20 degrees. Recognizing the environmental and economic requirements of the northeast, the Delta T-90 Team set out to design a house that is affordable for households earning 20% less than the average Vermont median income. The Delta T-90 team believes that high performance, solar powered dwellings should be available to all and that good design is not a function of cost. We are confronting the issues related to high performance and affordability for New England by taking a bold design position driven by performance criteria, building science, and time honored architectural maneuvers.1004062_317028871765078_427338673_n

The Solar Decathlon is a biennial competition organized by the U.S. Department of Energy that challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and showcase solar-powered homes. Norwich University from Northfield, Vermont was chosen to participate in the 2013 competition in Irvine, California. Approximately eighty-two percent of households in Vermont earning under $41,000 annually direct more than one-third of their income toward mortgage and housing costs. Couple this statistic with the fact that Vermont ranks sixth highest in the United States in terms of annual heating demand, it becomes clear that the challenges of home ownership for lower-income households can be overwhelming. In October 2013, Norwich University students will travel to Irvine for a month to showcase an economically responsible option for solar-powered living.

Solar Decathlon

The design streamlines mechanical, electrical, and building envelope systems in an effort to increase affordability and reduce primary energy demand. Our team is committed to providing a hammer-ready, widely accessible solution for New England’s unique challenges. The functional and economically practical requirements of consumers in the northeastern United States challenged students to concentrate on elegance while keeping affordability at the forefront of our mission. Through the support of industry partners and a shared mission in promoting intelligent yet beautiful design, the Delta T-90 represents the only viable solar-powered housing option for households with wages below the median income level.