Team DTU named its entry for the Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 EMBRACE. It is a dwelling designed for a two people family, brought to life by combining passive architectural solutions and active technological solutions in one building. The concept behind the name relies on the splitting of the building envelope in two different parts: the thermal envelope, and what we refer to as the weather shield.
The weather shield is the basis of the design, and therefore it has multiple functions in the architectural concept. First and foremost, it protects the whole construction from rain and thunderstorms. A new sort of space is created between the thermal envelope and the outer shield, which could be described as an indoor garden, where the climate is a bit milder than the real outdoors. It enables the use of this area to be extended to not just the summer months but also in the spring and autumn, that is to say a major part of the year. This space has been conceived as a semi-public/semi-private area, where the occupants can have connections with their neighbors. The weather shield is also the support of many technological innovations: it bears both the solar collectors and the small photovoltaic panels (arranged in a pattern meant to provide the necessary amount of shading to the house). The openings in the weather shield ensure good natural ventilation inside the space, and the skylight enables enough daylight to enter the thermal envelope.
Given the space provided by the weather shield, the inner thermal envelope has been downsized, in order to only keep the necessary area, and incite the occupants to use all the outer space available during most of the year. The thermal envelope gathers the bathroom, the living-room which includes the kitchen, the technical core, and a bedroom upstairs. An additional room can be used as extra or shared with the neighboring house.
The weather shield embraces the cluster of technologies and functionalities integrated in the house, providing energy and comfort, and giving sense to our vision of the dwelling of the future.