Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BeauSoliel: Home Stretch

Solar Decathlon Update: Every two years 20 university teams are chosen, based on proposals, to design an all-solar home and assemble it on the National Mall in Washington DC for public viewing and judging. Check back each Wednesday as the NAV Blog reports on the process of the design and construction of BeauSoleil, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's entry. For more info about the project, visit their website. And check out a short film about the project.

I recently made a visit to the BeauSoleil World Headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana where Professor Geoff Gjertson and graduate student Catherine Guidry gave me a tour of the construction progress.

With the Solar Decathlon coming up in October, TEAM BeauSoleil is in full construction mode. The basic frame with wall and roof panels are in place as are the windows. Soon, interior and exterior finishes, will be applied.

As with any piece of experimental architecture, magical little details are beginning to appear. Contrary to popoular opinion, a "good set of drawings" is not all it takes to complete the building. Frank Lloyd Wright famously refused to finish the interior drawings until the shell construction was completed and he could stand in the building and make decisions about the final details. Sometimes he went so far as to move a drafting board into the space and finish drawings then and there.

Reports from the field:

Well it has been an exciting week for the Beausoleil Team. We have just finished up a very tough semester and we are gearing up for the hot and very humid Louisiana summer. Summertime also means fulltime work on our project, which has been through some amazing changes. We have just made some major updates to our cd’s. By correcting and refining our layout our cd’s are looking pretty good. So far things are looking very good for finishing on time. Starting next week we will continue to tweak some minor issues and hopefully finish them up in a timely manner, since we will be at full strength as we welcome back the rest of our team.

Greg Jefferson - TEAM BeauSoleil

This week the design and construction crew down at the BeauSoleil Worldwide Headquarters is raising the roof…literally! We’ve been making great progress on the various roof systems the house incorporates. The galvalume metal roofing is installed and the aluminum roof frame that houses the water heating system is also being made! The fancy, shifting-ridge roof we designed is kind-of a pain in the neck sometimes, but boy does it look good! We’ll continue with posts to keep you guys up-to-date on all the shenanigans going on at the BeauSoleil Worldwide Headquarters. Have a BeauSoleil Day!

Chris Dufreche -TEAM BeauSoleil

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