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Solar Decathlon: A sneak peek at the houses

Sept. 9, 2011, 7:07 a.m.
The Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology, CHIP

Photo: DOE

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Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology, CHIP

One of the more curious-looking entries in the 2011 Solar Decathlon and certainly the only home in the competition that incorporates a parking space (it's designed specifically for young professionals living in Los Angeles and will ultimately be owned by and lived in by one), CHIP will no doubt be the top rubbernecker when it hits West Potomac Park. With its unusual boxy shape and exterior skin — "outsulation," if you will — made from vinyl-coated fabric mesh, this home's petite size of less than 800 square feet makes it the ideal candidate for urban infill projects and shared lots ... and for the set of the Ridley Scott's latest sci-fi film. Inside this fully automated smart home outfitted with foam furniture, visitors will find a series of terraced platforms moving upwards and inwards, from most public to most private. Different, but we like it.