New York City Team DURA Designs Stackable Post-Disaster Home for Solar Decathlon 2015

September 7, 2015

DURA House, designed and built by NYC College of Technology

DURA House, designed and built by NYC College of Technology

One of the teams in this year’s Solar Decathlon, is from New York City’s College of Technology.  This team focused on the issue of providing disaster housing that can be easily transported and stacked, if needed, to provide a high density of housing in a small footprint.

Team DURA (Diverse, Urban, Resilient, Adaptable) created a stackable design to provide relief after catastrophic storms that can also be used for mobile and low-income housing in urban areas.

“A lot of our work has been inspired by our location,” said decathlete Evgenia Gorovaya, a sophomore studying environmental planning and math.  “The qualities of diversity and being urban go hand-in-hand because City Tech is one of the most diverse colleges in the United States.  And a lot of different mindsets went into developing our design.”

DURA House, designed and built by NYC College of Technology

The DURA house design was developed through a multi-pronged approach that included a hybrid of passive and active systems that can adapt to various configurations.  Super-insulation, strategic window opening sizes and locations, an exceptionally tight envelope and a smart mechanical system that harvests waste heat, combined to optimize performance and maximize occupant comfort for net-zero, affordable living in a dense, diverse environment.  The home is adaptively designed with an open floor plan to allow for a greater range of flexibility for multiple configurations.

“The Solar Decathlon has been wonderful journey from the beginning — when students asked if it was possible to do something so ambitious — to the present — where we find ourselves collaborating with leaders and putting the final touches on the house,” said Professor Alexander Aptekar, Department of Architectural Technology.  “Our students have grown so much, both professionally and with their confidence over the course of the project.”

After the Decathlon is complete and the house is shipped back to New York, it will be donated to a disabled veteran.

DURA House, designed and built by NYC College of Technology

Source and Photos: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon



Dawn Killough

has over 15 years experience in the construction industry and is the author of Green Building Design 101, an e-book available from Amazon. She is a LEED AP and Certified Green Building Advisor, and has worked on the LEED Certification of three projects in Salem, Oregon.