Project Symbcity House. Solar Decathlon 2014

Symbcity House, by Plateau Team, was developed to solve an urgent urban challenge: launching the full energetic rehabilitation of the outdated Spanish housing estate. Old, inefficient buildings are to be held responsible for the pollution and energy waste in our country. The abandonment of the traditional cities, caused by the uncontrollable urban sprawl of the last decades, is the main challenge that European cities must face nowadays.

Symbcity House is a single intervention embedded in a wider urban project for the Manoteras district in Madrid. Manoteras is a residential area with a poor level of construction, built in the middle-50s. The project can be adapted to many housing typologies in this neighbourhood, as it is a standarized construction that will make refurbishment operations affordable to citizens with low income levels .

Inspired by the mutual benefit relationship between natural organisms known as symbiosis, a new self-sufficient house will cooperate with the old buildings to reach the sustainability goals demanded to our cities.

SymbCity House colonizes the roofs of outdated buildings with an extra level of construction. They take advantage of a developed and well-connected location, while the sale of this extra urban land helps financing a global rehabilitation operation on the building. This way, we establish a reciprocal benefit between a host building and guest housing units.

This project competed in the Solar Decathlon Europe contest,  an international competition among universities which promotes research in the development of efficient houses. The objective of the participating teams is to design and build houses that consume as little of natural resources as possible and produce minimum waste products during their life cycle. Particular emphasis is put on reducing energy consumption and on obtaining all the necessary energy from the sun.

Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 took place in Versalles, Paris. During the competition, the participating houses competed on each of the individual contests comprising this competition: architecture, engineering, energy efficiency, comfort conditions, house functioning, urban design, innovation, etc.