Madrid follows the sun to Washington

Following the Sun's path during the Earth's daily rotation from East to West, "Madrid follows the Sun to Washington D.C." with its 2009 Solar House. The name "The Black&White House" stands for the energetic and sustainable values that the Universidad PolitÚcnica de Madrid brings to the Solar Decathlon 2009 Competition in Washington D.C. "The B&W House" represents a cultural meeting point between both cities, and the realization of a new prototype that encourages the integration of renewable energies in housing from a completely new perspective.

black and white house in the morning

learning from history

The city of Washington D.C. was planned according to the wisdom of ancient Egypt. Its urban layout follows the Egyptian's knowledge in astronomy, whereas the location of The Capitol, The Washington Monument and The White House was made according to the stars and its constellations. "The B&W House", situated in the center of the constellation created by these three emblematic buildings, has an inverted pyramid above it that follows the Sun's path, capturing every sunray. Besides, learning from the Egyptians, the House symbolizes the historic fact that our planet can only be sustainable if it makes use of the light of the Sun.

the design of the b&w house

Black& White expresses the juxtaposition between two opposing colors and concepts, like night/day, obscurity/clarity, +/- and yin/yang. These are sets of contrasts that represent complementary opposites. The most important architectural concept of "The B&W House" is the influence of the Sun in its design, adopting the simplicity of Zen concepts and the sensitivity of the human body with its capacity to react to environmental changes. With these influences in mind, "The B&W House" has been developed to respond to the demands of its natural and urban environments. This House offers infinite urban possibilities with the simple re-orienting of its solar roof.



The Black and White House at noon

architectonic program

The spatial organization of the House allows one-third of the space to be used for services (kitchen, installations and bathroom) located on the North side and the other two-thirds for multifunctional spaces (living, dining and bedroom) in the South, East and West areas. Directly beneath the self-orientating solar roof, a wide skylight allows diffuse light to illuminate the center of the dwelling. The House spreads out towards the South corner onto a terrace that overlooks a water pond, in order to achieve a softened climatic effect. The sculpture "Solar Man" that welcomes the visitors from the pond is created by the Spanish sculptor Juan Bordes.


Space arrangement of the Black and White House

Space distribution of The Black and White House

the self orientating solar roof and the sensitive skin

"The B&W House" has a self-orientating solar roof that pivots on only one point, the ball-and-socket joint, which enables it to capture maximum solar energy throughout the day, anywhere in the world. The "sensitive skin" fašade is made from thermal and photovoltaic panels that envelope the entire house. This epidermis takes or releases heat according to the needs of its occupants, and the time of day and season. The transparent photovoltaic fašade panels also act as a lattice that sifts light through the windows, while the 45░ rotation on the lot gives the House the advantage of optimizing the use of its photovoltaic panels.

the transportation and extensions

"The B&W House" has been divided into 3 semi-trailers, which fit together laterally and can be reassembled quite simply in any part of the world. The key concept is that the inferior slab of the House is at the same time the base of the semi-trailer. This ease of transportation makes possible to relocate the building to several different sites throughout the House's lifetime, using only three trucks. The modulated geometry of "The B&W House" permits a progressive development based on the self-similarity concept of fractals, which means that the House can grow proportionally depending on its use (housing, office or industry). It can also be applied in urban design.

the B&W House patents

The design of "The B&W House" has enabled the development of structural, housing and furnishing elements that have been patented to constitute new investigation branches. The 5 patents that have been developed are: the self-orientating solar roof system with the innovative ball-and-socket joint, the movable solar facade panels, the self-levelling foundation system, the orbital and the square furniture.