The houses at the 2014 Solar Decathlon competition, held this summer in Versailles, France, exhibited a number of recognizable design strategies: adding to the top of existing structures; assembling modular, prefab elements combining kitchens, bathrooms, and heating and cooling systems; wrapping existing buildings with a new, efficient layer. Only a few entries elaborated on the longstanding but ecologically problematic theme of the freestanding house in the unspoiled countryside. Perhaps because of a heightened awareness of climate change, several of the entrants couched their contributions in terms of disaster relief. But also on display, if harder to see, were embedded…
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