Building Reality: Results from the Meridian First Light House

  • YEAR
    Marriage, Guy
    2011 Conference Papers
    Design Education


This paper follows the continuing construction progress of the Meridian First Light House,
an entry in the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 competition. This application of
sustainable building theory was initiated by a student-led design competition, and the subsequent
construction of a full sized experimental house for the purposes of entering the competition. While the
house has been designed to perform as a completed project, much has also been learnt relating to
construction methodologies and application of international building codes. The project is a vehicle for
testing building processes and construction practices on at full scale. Practical issues of incorporating a
complete building construction project into a University curriculum are also examined, and outcomes
are being used to inform both teaching and practice within a leading School of Architecture. As the
project is still on-going at time of writing, but will be completed by the time of the conference, the paper
addresses issues that have been resolved over the intervening months. These issues will cover items
such as transportability in modular housing, and the potential application of design principles to
disaster recovery housing in the future. The project bridges the gap between the teaching of theory
principles and the harsh practicalities of building and architecture.


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