Competition

● © SDE19 | ÉMI Non profit Ltd.

● SDE21 teams | © SDE21

● © SDE19 | ÉMI Non profit Ltd.

● SDE21 Teams | © SDE21

go urban with us!

To build a climate-friendly future, we need fresh and innovative ideas. Challenge accepted! For the first time in the history of the Solar Decathlon competitions, the Solar Decathlon Europe 21 (SDE21) will strike an entirely new path and will put the spotlight on sustainable building and living in urban areas. The decathlon which takes place in Wuppertal is all about renovating and extending existing building stock as this offers the greatest potential with respect to urban energy transition.

Taking existing buildings as their starting point, 18 university teams from eleven countries will develop their innovative ideas for sustainable, energy-efficient and socially responsible architecture. As part of the SDE21, they will put these into practice and will design, build and operate sustainable houses that will bring to life important issues such as protecting the climate and transitioning towards renewable energies.

go urban with us!

‘Sustainable building needs to become the default. We already have the minds and instruments that we need: great architects from all disciplines and efficient award procedures. We simply have to want it! The SDE21 impressively demonstrates that even our students tackle crucial issues around solar energy, building and construction in innovative and creative ways.’

● Barbara Ettinger-Brinckmann, president of the Federal Chamber of German Architects © Christian Kruppa

New: Three urban situations

Sustainable and integrated architectural solutions adapted to the particular local situation will need to be developed. The teams of the SDE21 chose one of three urban situations, all of which reflect real-life urban building stock challenges.

Wuppertal is not only the venue of the SDE21 but also a source of inspiration for the ideas generated during the competition. Each one of the three urban situations represents a particular urban development challenge found in Wuppertal’s Mirke district. The architectural challenges will be complemented by social and economic aspects.

Alternatively, teams were allowed to choose a comparable urban situation from their country. Eleven out of the eighteen teams opted for this second option, while seven teams chose Mirke district (find all project descriptions here).

New: Three urban situations

● © SDE21

1 ● Renovation & extension

Renovation is an important step towards the transitions of cities. Specifically, buildings constructed after the Second World War are no longer suitable. They were often built with inexpensive building materials, insufficient insulation and inflexible floor planning. The transformation of these buildings makes them attractive, integrating them into the urban energy transition.

● © SDE21

● Höchsten | Ludwigstrasse, Wuppertal © SDE21

● Höchsten | Ludwigstrasse, Wuppertal © SDE21

2 ● Closing gaps

Within the city, undeveloped areas surrounded by two or more buildings are designated as vacant lots. Closing these gaps is a favourable possibility to increase urban density. In parallel, innovative architectural and energy supply solutions for these gaps can repair the cityscape and inspire an entire neighbourhood including its energy supply.

2 ● Closing gaps

● Bandstrasse, Wuppertal © SDE21

● Bandstrasse, Wuppertal © SDE21

● © SDE21

● © SDE21

● Bandstrasse, Wuppertal © SDE21

● Bandstrasse, Wuppertal © SDE21

3 ● Renovation & addition of storey

The addition of one or more extra storeys to an existing building, including the renovation of an entire building, is a great opportunity for the creation of alternative living spaces, thus sustainably increasing urban density. The diversity of use revives the urban space. Roof top extensions create a platform for intensive solar energy utilization.

● © SDE21

● Wiesenstrasse, Wuppertal © SDE21

● Wiesenstrasse, Wuppertal © SDE21

● Download more detailed information about the urban situations ●

From the idea to fully operational buildings

‘Design – build – operate’ – this is the unique principle of the Solar Decathlon. Unlike other architecture competitions, teams do not only design their houses, they also need to build and operate them. Remaining faithful to this successful principle, the SDE21 will consist of two parts:

In the Design Challenge, teams will create a design and energy concept for a complete building including its urban context, putting principles of climate-neutrality into practice.

In the Building Challenge, teams will select one representative housing unit from their overall building. They will then build and operate this one- or two-storey residential unit on the Solar Campus in Wuppertal’s Mirke district.

Both challenges will be assessed according to ten different contests. In total, there are four different ways for the teams to earn points: jury evaluation, task completion, tests and monitored performance. The team achieving the highest combined score will be the winner of the SDE21. 

● The Solar Campus will be open to the public from 11 June 2022. Join us and discover original designs as well as the newest technology. ●

competition