By Mary Parker

CLEMSON — Two teams of Clemson University’s School of Architecture graduate students have earned first and second places in Dow Chemical Company’s Dow Solar Design to Zero Competition. Three additional Clemson teams received honorable mention and ancillary awards.

The international competition challenged undergraduate and graduate students to conceptualize energy-efficient, sustainable residential solutions on a global scale. Clemson’s ambitious teams were selected by a group of their contestant peers as the winners from a pool of 131 design teams from 19 countries.

Winners were announced Wednesday during a ceremony at the National Home Builder’s International Builders’ Show in Orlando and online through a Facebook Livestream.

Clemson’s Live/Work team won first place and $20,000 with its sleek, modern design. Eric Laine of Indianapolis and Suzanne Steelman of Las Vegas embraced the social and economic aspects of life and created a home that incorporates both commercial and residential functionalities.

Daniel Kim of Vienna, Va. and Caitlin Ranson of Pickens received second place and $10,000 for their Project Zero design. The structure’s concrete masonry units create a seamless house that reimagines spaces and blurs the boundaries between interior and exterior with “zones” intended to increase ventilation.   

Honorable Mention was awarded to John Oxenfeld of Tega Cay and Adam Wilson of Chester for their unique Partial Submersion design.

Mike Niezer of Fort Wayne, Ind., and Adrian Mora of Miama took the Design Integration Award for seamlessly integrating space, materials and technology to craft a serene and environmentally sound breatheZERO home.

The Built-In Photovoltaic Design Award went to Jason Drews of Houston and James Graham of Wilmington, N.C., for their Below Zero design, incorporating optimal solar angles.

Architecture school chairwoman Kate Schwennsen said she is very pleased with the success of these students, as are their design studio professor, Ulrike Heine, and consulting professors Daniel Harding and Bernhard Sill.

“The accomplishments of these students and faculty represent the highest aspirations, values and abilities of the School of Architecture,” Schwennsen said. “The work is innovative, technologically integrated and sophisticated, optimistic, engaged with industry, clearly and beautifully communicated, the result of collaborative design processes.

“It addresses one of the critical issues of our time and is focused on leaving the world better than they found it,” she said. “The School of Architecture couldn't ask for better representation of its potential.”

Contestants created designs for three connected residences, including areas for privacy and recreation. In addition to traditional design elements, students were tasked with incorporating environmentally friendly, recyclable materials with near zero-energy efficiency standards.

Dow sponsored the competition as part of its commitment to the environment, health and safety as demonstrated in its 2015 Sustainability Goals.


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