Meghan Edwards | March 01, 2012
Aided by Widder, an associate professor of architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, Team New York devised the Solar Roofpod, a penthouse-type structure ideal for the flat tops of city mid-rises. A steel-framed dunnage system acted as a foundation while extending on all sides as a deck landscaped with plants irrigated by storm runoff. The single-story pod's steel frame accepted a variety of wall panels in poplar plywood and/or glass. Inside, a square core integrated a kitchen, an entertainment system for the living area, a Murphy bed, a bathroom, and storage. Appliances, electronics, and HVAC were entirely powered by the roof's photovoltaic panels in conjunction with an innovative system of thermal storage. Over the course of a year, instead of the competition's two weeks, Solar Roofpod could save $2,500-plus in utilities and keep 8,800 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.