Construction of the house of the future kicks off at Loyola

Deep Performance Dwelling is Canada’s sole entry to the 2018 Solar Decathlon China, an international competition that challenges student teams to design and build full-size, solar-powered houses
Members of TeamMTL, a collaboration between McGill and Concordia, will spend part of the summer building a net-zero energy Deep Performance Dwelling.

McGill and Concordia students and faculty teaming up to build Canadian entry to Solar Decathlon China competition in 2018

It’s officially underway.

As of June 12, the test assembly of the net-zero energy Deep Performance Dwelling began on Concordia University’s Loyola Campus. Designed and realized by TeamMTL, the house is Canada’s sole entry to the 2018 Solar Decathlon China, an international competition that challenges student teams to design and build full-size, solar-powered houses.

TeamMTL is a collaborative effort between students and faculty from McGill and Concordia universities. Reaching the test assembly stage is a major milestone in the long journey to the competition which will be held in July 2018 in Dezhou, Shandong Province, China. The team is composed of 40 students working on all aspects of the project, including architecture design, engineering, finance and communications.

“We are extremely grateful to the dozens of dedicated people who have come together to make the test assembly of the Deep Performance Dwelling possible,” says Michael Jemtrud, Faculty Lead and McGill School of Architecture Professor.

A profound hands-on experience

The house is being assembled at the Terrebonne Parking lot beside the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall at the Loyola Campus of Concordia University. The prototype will remain onsite throughout the summer, giving visitors a hands-on vision of the future of housing.

“We’re very pleased to host this stage of the research project at Concordia,” said Justin Powlowski, Concordia’s Interim Vice-President of Research and Graduate Studies. “The Deep Performance Dwelling is an exciting collaboration between our two universities. It’s a great opportunity for Concordia and McGill students to apply their technical skills at this crucial step. I look forward to seeing them in action this summer!”

At the worksite, an ensemble of students who participated in a summer construction course offered through McGill and who received health and safety training from the Commission de la santé et de la securité du travail (CSST) are anxious to get their hands dirty.

“It’s very exciting to see the team’s efforts finally materialize, I can’t wait for construction to begin. I’ve been talking about this amazing project for the past year and I’m eager to share the final product.” said Alex Gareau, a civil engineering undergrad at Concordia and one of the project managers. “The way I see it, my mandate as project manager is to help the project progress smoothly, from handling site logistics, to coordinating and harmonizing the efforts of the team’s various crews.”

Likewise, Mark Melnichuk, a second-year McGill undergraduate architecture student has been working on the team since its inception. “The Solar Decathlon has been the most ambitious and challenging academic project I have been involved in. To see the project grow from a concept on paper into a fully realized building has been an extremely gratifying process. Not only am I proud of the quality of the project the team has put together but also the potential sustainable implications of the project in the future.”

‘Educating the best and brightest young thinkers and doers’

After the base and exterior structure of the home are complete, the team will focus on refining the interior including full furnishing and integration of the interactive media. Tours will be offered to the public beginning in mid-July to demonstrate TeamMTL’s vision of sustainable urban living and high-performance construction techniques.

Inspired by Montreal row houses, the dwelling is designed to be adaptable and flexible for the contemporary urban family. The ambitious design addresses the pressing global need for affordable, low-impact, urban housing. It integrates interactive media into the home to inform residents of consumption patterns and their environmental impacts.

“It is a complex, extraordinary project for the students and faculty involved,” says Jemtrud. “We’re continuing to bring together numerous public and private sector partners who have a shared concern for building a sustainable world, while simultaneously educating the best and brightest young thinkers and doers from our community.”

Information on upcoming tours, events and the team’s progress can be found online and you can follow on social media @teammontreal for real time updates and behind-the-scenes footage.