After winning the Solar Decathlon Europe in Spain last summer and traveling to such illustrious places as Times Square, Millennium Park, and the Drillfield, the Virginia Tech Lumenhaus has found a home away from home at the historic Farnsworth House in Illinois, where it will be on display from April through July 2011.
Considered one of Mies van der Rohe’s masterpieces and now owned by the National Trust for Historic Presentation, Farnsworth is a landmark work of modernist design architecture that has countless buildings. Van der Rohe’s open and clean design is reflected throughout Virginia Tech's solar house.
Virginia Tech Lumenhaus’ north and south walls clearly demonstrate the inspirations from Farnsworth – the all-glass walls make the best use of bright, natural daylight to provide both indoor light and passive solar heating. Even its name is inspired by van der Rohe, a combination for ‘luminosity’ and ‘Bauhaus,’ the German design school once headed by van der Rohe.
The team of Virginia Tech faculty and students situated the solar house on the edge of a cornfield on the Farnsworth grounds, a short walk from the main house.
The project’s advanced technologies and cutting-edge design allow it to operate without being connected to the electrical grid. Indeed, during hours of peak sunlight, the solar house creates more energy than it needs. Visitors to the site will be able to see the connection between van der Rohe’s timeless design and 21st innovations in energy efficiency.