Creating the UNLV Solar Decathlon house: Process and lessons

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In Fall 2011, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas School of Architecture's David G. Howryla Design-Build Studio began development of the university's entry into the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013-an international, university-based competition to design solar-powered housing prototypes. The design team's primary goal was not the creation of a workable engineering model; instead, the team explored how technology can be a tool that assists people to reconnect with materiality, texture, light, and time, creating opportunities for memorable experiences. Students who have participated in design-build programs across the United States have cited them as critical formative experiences in their development as design professionals. Additionally, as a competition that requires collaboration among engineering, architecture, interior design, marketing, and communications, the Solar Decathlon is an effective tool for simulating teamwork on real projects. As the only university located in the Mojave Desert-one of the most extreme environments in North America-UNLV's inclusion in this competition offers a unique opportunity to demonstrate leadership in developing innovative responses to arid climates, and finishing in 2nd -place underscored the team's abilities. The Design-Build Studio's process of creating the Solar Decathlon House is instructive in understanding this success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-31
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Architecture
  • Design-build
  • Research
  • Teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Urban Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Creating the UNLV Solar Decathlon house: Process and lessons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this