RoofKIT – KIT team participates at the Solar Decathlon Europe 21 competition within the field of sustainable construction
“The future city makes no distinction between waste and supply.”
Joachim Mitchell, New York
How can we create social-economic fair living space without destroying our natural resources? And how can we create ecologically sensitive building structures, acknowledging the finite state of natural material supplies, and avoid any state of “waste”, but understand the existing building stock as an urban material bank for the future? How can we create alternative solar harvesting systems as part of an urban mining ideology and propose paradigm-shifting innovations as first-of-their-kind worldwide? And how can we apply urban mobility systems as an integrative part of the immobile building sector?
The Solar Decathlon Europe 21 (SDE21) is a publicly held competition for sustainable building and urban living, which will take place in 2022 in Wuppertal, Germany, where it will be judged. The motto: „design-build-operate.“ This means that, unlike in other architectural competitions, the participating teams will actually build their designs. The aim of the competition is to find innovative and at the same time tangible solutions to the technical, architectural and social problems we face in our cities.
The first Solar Decathlon was held in 2002 by the Department of Energy of the United States on the National Mall in Washington D.C., followed in 2010 by the first European version in Madrid. With the SDE21 comes the world‘s 21st edition of the competition for the first time in Germany – with a new and urban profile and the question of how we should deal with limited ressource in future constructions and how to apply the necessery and politically demanded concept of a circular economy within the building industry.
18 university teams from 11 countries will construct fully usable demonstration units of approx. 80 sqm each on the Solar Campus in Wuppertal which is locatad on the Utopiastadt site in 2022. The teams will compete with their buildings in 10 different disciplines.
The RoofKIT team of the KIT Faculty of Architecture will address those urgent questions in the competition by exploring a gigantic surface resource within our cities: rooftops. By applying the idea of the circular economy towards the identification of new possible building sites within our cities, and by applying the concept also towards the material as well as the energy question, the project will show that it is possible to integrate the building sector in a functioning sustainable system already today. The city of today will be the resource for the city of tomorrow. It needs a new generation contract for both – the society and young architects, engineers and planners at large.
Different views © Team RoofKIT
The impact of such a radical paradigm shift is not debatable. In the light of a world-wide climate crisis, we need to shift our way of how we think, design and construct architecture. RoofKIT will be a demonstrator for a new generation of buildings, that take their responsibility seriously. It will show that social sustainability in form of affordable high quality living space interacting with their neighbourhoods is a question of good and informed design, that solar harvesting will not be an accessory but a mandatory part of any design process and mobility concept and that resources coming from the urban mine and designed as a material bank can and will be interwoven to a synergetic resilient design as they are enabled to move unrestrictedly in a future circular economy.