Lumenhaus to Exhibit at Farnsworth House

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After winning the 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe competition in Madrid, Spain, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University's (Virginia Tech) Solar Decathlon team took its high-tech solar-powered house on tour.

Throughout 2010, the Lumenhaus was exhibited in several locations around the United States, including Washington, D.C., Chicago, and New York City, but has most frequently been on display in Virginia Tech's own back yard in Blacksburg, nearby Roanoke, and in Richmond, Va. This spring, it'll head to Plano, Ill., for a four-month stay on the site of its inspiration: Mies Van Der Rohe's Farnsworth House.

Virginia Tech's LumenhausLike the Farnsworth House, Lumenhaus is designed to connect its occupants to each other and to the outdoors. The pavilion-style house utilizes glass walls on its north and south elevations to maximize interior exposure to daylight, and its kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom are clustered together in a central core, leaving the perimeter as open living space.

Lumenhaus is unique, however, in that its Eclipsis System, an advanced building façade of operable exterior wall screens, allows occupants the flexibility to shade the house's interiors when necessary and open its views to nature when desired, while still allowing filtered daylight to enter. Its high-tech operational system allows occupants to control the Eclipsis System, music, lighting, and draperies, as well as to access data on the home's power production and consumption.

Interestingly, though it aced the Solar Decathlon Europe competition, Lumenhaus placed 13th in the 2009 U.S. Solar Decathlon. Read our coverage of the Lumenhaus in the 2009 Solar Decathlon.

Lumenhaus will be on display and open for visitors on the Farnsworth House property April 1 through July 31, 2011. Visit for details and ticket information.—S.L.M.



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