Modell des Gesamtkonzepts

Many participants, one common goal – design and construction of a building prototype as a competition entry for the Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22

Numerous study programmes form interdisciplinary competition team

How can we create affordable urban living space while building sustainably, taking climate protection into account, conserving resources and using renewable energies? With its competition entry at the Solar Decathlon 21/22 (SDE 21/22), the coLLab team of the HFT Stuttgart tries to find answers to these pressing current questions.

Since qualifying for participation in January 2020, the coLLab team of students, professors, research staff at the HFT Stuttgart as well as cooperation partners in the industry are working together with full commitment to design such a building and to ultimately realise parts of it in June 2022 as a built structure at the competition venue in Wuppertal. The concept is illustrated on a small scale by four built modules, the demonstrator. Numerous professors and students from our faculty are also involved with heart and soul.

Urban, ecological redensification at the Stuttgart location
The Solar Decathlon Europe has been held since 2008, and this time its current subject does not involve a new building, but rather urban redensification. From three possible scenarios, the participants chose the option of adding additional storeys. They selected the university building "Bau 5", a building from the 1950s on the HFT campus, as the existing structure – besides adding on top, it will also be renovated at the same time.

Due to Stuttgart's basin location, the city centre already lacks sufficient fresh air supply. The effects of global warming will likely exacerbate the situation and the city is called upon to respond. A longstanding and worsening housing shortage and the associated high rents is another reason to find built solutions for Stuttgart.

The vision
The two-storey extension will provide new living space for students, university staff and low-income user groups such as single parents and pensioners. The lower floors will house open-plan workspaces, co-working spaces, communal workshops, seminar rooms and a café. The vision is an architecture that promotes community and creates a lively neighbourhood, a place of exchange and social interaction.

The concept and the implementation
For the existing building, a construction based on a grid was developed. By altering the grid’s axis the timber frame construction can be adapted to the supporting structure of similar buildings and applied it in a flexible way.

The sustainable construction can be mass-produced and accommodates not only the living areas but also open and communal areas as well as circulation areas.
A timber frame construction is run along the existing façade down to the ground floor. A mesh of steel cables encloses the entire building, in which rhombus-shaped organic photovoltaic modules (OPV) are suspended. They provide solar energy and shade the building.

The team faces 10 disciplines – analogous to the Olympic decathlon
A total of 10 disciplines are required – architecture, comfort, sustainability and energy performance are among them, but also urban challenges such as the socio-economic context. Each individual discipline is treated by a team or a project at the HFT Stuttgart. The existing know-how of professors and staff from different degree programmes, research teams and the student core team coLLab will be bundled and finally combined into a coherent overall concept.
In the so-called “Design Challenge” the overall building concept will be judged. For the "Building Challenge", a prototype – a fully functioning demonstrator on a scale of 1:1 – will be constructed in Wuppertal in June 2022. The required disciplines will be gauged, tested and evaluated on this exemplary building section.

The stages, the construction of façade elements in the workshops, the interior fittings and the guidance system
Numerous intermediate stages were successfully mastered before the prototype could be realised: concept development, building stock analysis, examination of the structural design, studies on the energy concept, building simulations on illumination, model submissions to the competition’s organisers, to name but a few. In addition to the planning tasks, the students had to organise as a team, win over fellow students for the cause and create new structures that make interdisciplinary project work on this scale possible.

The MAKE project is an interdisciplinary design project of the Master's degree programme in Architecture and the Bachelor's degree programme in ClimateEngineering with the aim of creating a holistic design.

Supervising professors: Markus Binder, Volkmar Bleicher, Jan Cremers, Lutz Dickmann, Andreas Löffler, Ralf Petersen and Peter Schlaier

In September 2021, the time had finally come. The construction of façade elements could begin! In September and December, the workshops of the Faculty of Architecture and Design became the second home for the students of the coLLab team. The name coLLab, in reference to the word collaboration = working together, could be taken quite literally – together they tirelessly glued, welded, screwed and assembled every day for all it was worth!

The student coLLab team is made up of students from the degree programmes Architecture, Building Physics, ClimateEngineering, Interior Design, International Project Management (part of the Faculty of Architecture and Design) and the degree programmes Building Physics and Civil Engineering (part of the Faculty of Civil Engineering).

Construction of the wooden façade
A total of 220 m² of wooden façade elements are needed for the construction of the demonstrator. These will be made from the waste wood from a timber mill. The offcuts, which are left over as waste during façade construction, are glued together in a new arrangement and combined to form large-area elements with varying arrangement and colouring. Here, the idea of upcycling is put into practice.

Testing and construction of the steel mesh for the organic photovoltaic (OPV) modules
The OPV modules are attached to the façade by means of a steel mesh, contributing to indoor comfort and energy supply in the best possible way. Through a previous parametric simulation, the factors of energy generation, shading and daylight incidence were investigated and the findings were transferred to the arrangement of the OPV modules. They are arranged in varying density, resulting in a customised façade appearance for the building.

Interior design and development of an exhibition concept
Supervised by Prof. Jens Betha
Supplementary elective with Jutta Schädler (scenography) and Sabine Wiesend (lighting design)

Within three semesters, numerous designs for living spaces were developed on the basis of the MAKE design, one of which will now be realised in the end. Parallel to this, an exhibition concept was developed for the exhibition in Wuppertal. In addition, seminars in scenography and lighting design were held.

The finale in June 2022 – assembly in Wuppertal
On 20 May 2022, the assembly of the demonstrators of all 18 participating universities from 11 countries will start in Wuppertal. From 10 June, the prototypes will be open to visitors and at the same time put to the test – on-site functionality will be demonstrated, measurements will be taken, tests will be carried out and finally awards will be given for each discipline. This two-week practical test will show which team has been able to combine design, technology and innovation most convincingly – of course our fingers are crossed for coLLab! Go for it, coLLab!

By the way: Anyone who is curious and would like to learn more or get involved is always welcome to drop by the coLLab team.
Just contact Annabell Gronau from the coLLab team at annabell.gronau(at) or drop by at



Publish date: 15. February 2022 By Cornelia Jänicke ()