Techstyle Haus: An 800 Square Foot Fabric House That Uses 90% Less Energy

The planters filter rainwater, which is then reused to grow edible plants. Photovoltaic panels are arrayed along the curved roof. Image © Kristen Pelou

The Rhode Island School Of Design, Brown University and the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, collaborated on a passive “fabric” house for the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe (which just wrapped up this month – see the winners here). In the following article, originally published on Metropolis MagazineMartin Pedersen reviews the remarkable house.

This summer’s 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe is well underway in France, where a solar-powered village of twenty sustainable homes designed and built by college students from all over the country, has emerged on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. Students from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Brown University, and the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Germany, have teamed up for Techstyle Haus, an 800-square-foot house that’s not only a model of energy efficiency but an elegant piece of design as well.

Hofgut / Format Elf Architekten

© Lothar Reichel

Architects: Format Elf Architekten
Location: , Germany
Architect In Charge: Robert Maier, Stefan Hanninger
Year: 2013
Photographs: Lothar Reichel

Mensa Waldcampus / andreas gehrke . architekt

© Ulrich Schwarz

Architects: andreas gehrke . architekt
Location: Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung (Waldcampus), Alfred-Möller-Straße 1, 16225 ,
Area: 1710.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Ulrich ​Schwarz

Hörsaalgebäude Osnabrück / Benthem Crouwel Architects

© Jens Kirchner

Architects: Benthem Crouwel Architects
Location: Barbarastraße, ,
Design Team: Markus Sporer, Cornelius Wens, Sander Vijgen, Anna Gerlach, Joris Görling, Daniel Vlasveld, Carel Weber
Area: 7,280 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Jens Kirchner

Housing at the Old City Wall Berlin / Sohrab Zafari

© Christian Dammert, Aviel Avdar

Architects: Sohrab Zafari
Location: Waisenstraße 30, , Germany
Collaborators: Thomas Zeissig, Daniel Behnke, Roger Mandel
Year: 2014
Photographs: Christian Dammert, Aviel Avdar

Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall / ICD/ITKE/IIGS University of Stuttgart

Courtesy of

Architects: ICD/ITKE/IIGS University of Stuttgart
Location: University of Stuttgart, Keplerstraße 7, 70174 Stuttgart,
Design Team: A. Menges, Tobias Schwinn, Oliver David Krieg, J. Knippers, Jian‐Min Li, Volker Schwieger, Annette Schmitt, Reinhold Müller, Benjamin Eisele, Alois Buchstab, Frank Zimmermann, Sebastian Schreiber, Frauke Brieger, Karl‐Eugen Ebertshäuser, Sabine Rieger
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of ICD/ITKE/IIGS University of Stuttgart, James Nebelsick, Roland Halbe

New Soundcloud Headquarters / KINZO Berlin

© Werner Huthmacher

Architects: KINZO Berlin
Location: Berlin,
Responsible Partner: Karim El-Ishmawi, Martin Jacobs
Area: 4000.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Werner Huthmacher

Exhibition: Lebbeus Woods, ON-line

Aerial Paris. 1989. Copic Marker on tracing paper on board, 815 × 507 mm © Estate of

The Museum for Architectural Drawing presents Lebbeus Woods, ON-line, an exhibition of the finest works of architectural theorist, draftsman, educator and architect, Lebbeus Woods (1940–2012). Curated by his longtime friend and partner Christoph a. Kumpusch, the exhibition brings together a collection of Woods’ visionary works that have never been exhibited before. The intensely rendered architectural and urban environments produced early on in Woods’ career are exhibited together for the first time. These ink and pencil drawings cover a wide range of Woods’ research and re-imagination of cities both real and fictive and support Woods’ longstanding desire to show the capacity of architecture as a transformative and eloquent force.

ICD-ITKE Research Pavilion 2013-14 / ICD-ITKE University of Stuttgart

Courtesy of ICD-ITKE

Architects: ICD-ITKE University of Stuttgart
Location: Keplerstraße 11, University of , 70174 , Germany
Institute For Computational Design : Institute for Computational Design – Prof. Achim Menges Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design – Prof. Jan Knippers
Institute Of Building Structures And Structural Design : Prof. Jan Knippers
Research Development And Project Management: Moritz Dörstelmann, Vassilios Kirtzakis, Stefana Parascho, Marshall Prado, Tobias Schwinn
Area: 50.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of ICD-ITKE

DAS HAUS 2014 / Louise Campbell

© Koelnmesse, Studio

Architects: Louise Campbell
Location: ,
Area: 240 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Koelnmesse, Studio

NOCKI / Leonard Hautum

© Yatri Niehaus

Architects: Leonard Hautum
Location: , Germany
Area: 143 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Yatri Niehaus

Kessalao / Masquespacio

© David Rodríguez

Interior Designers: Masquespacio
Location: Bonner Talweg 88, 53113 , Germany
Creative Director: Ana Milena Hernández Palacios
Architect Junior: Virgínia Hinarejos
Area: 40.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: David Rodríguez

AD Classics: Wohnhaus Schlesisches Tor (Bonjour Tristesse) / Álvaro Siza Vieira + Peter Brinkert

© via Wikipedia Commons

Bonjour Tristesse is a social housing project designed by Portuguese Architect Álvaro Siza Vieira. Located in Berlin, the project was Siza’s first built work outside of his native country.  Siza’s design offers a meaningful precedent in urban densification, demonstrating a delicate balance between contextual awareness, creative freedom, and progressive vision.

House 9,74 x 9,74 / f m b architekten

Courtesy of

Architects: f m b architekten
Location: , Germany
Photographs: Courtesy of f m b architekten

Arup’s Latest Solar Panels Produce Energy From Algae

A view behind the BIQ House Solarleaf panels. Image via GOOD. Image

Architects have been experimenting with the potential of building envelopes for years. Now, Arup has an interesting, Zumtobel Group Award-nominated proposal: the Solarleaf bioreactor. This thin, 2.5 x .07 meter panel, when attached to the exterior of a building, is capable of generating biofuel – in the form of algae – for the production of hot water. More efficient than electricity and more sustainable than wood, algae is ideal kindling for producing heat, especially since it can be grown on-site. Moreover, the water in which the algae grows also collects solar energy, providing an additional supply of heat. More details on this sustainable innovation, after the break. 

JWS 2b / KBNK

© Dorfmüller/Kröger/Klier

Architects: KBNK
Location: Jürgen-Wullenwever-Str. 2b,
Area: 941.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Dorfmüller/Kröger/Klier

One Man Sauna / Modulorbeat

© Roman Mensing

Architects: Modulorbeat
Location: , Germany
Design Team: Marc Günnewig, Jan Kampshoff, Sebastian Gatz
Photographs: Roman Mensing, Courtesy of

Gehry’s Berlin Skyscraper May Be Too Heavy for Alexanderplatz

’ winning design for the residential building on Alexanderplatz. Image © , Courtesy of Hines

After winning the design competition for Germany‘s tallest apartment tower in January, Frank Gehry‘s project for the building on Alexanderplatz has already run into problems over fears that the 150-metre building could be too heavy for its site. The German edition of the Local is reporting that Berlin‘s Senate has placed the plans on hold because of the building’s proximity to the U5 branch of the U-Bahn tunnel, which it fears could be crushed under the weight.

More on the story after the break