The SDE21 combines urban architectural challenges with social, economic and ecological aspects, providing blueprints for sustainable urban transitions. It will maintain the Solar Decathlon project’s long-range objective of developing and demonstrating cost-effective, highly energy-efficient solar-powered dwellings.

In Wuppertal, the SDE21 will take a new turn. Instead of planning and designing buildings from scratch, Decathletes will work with existing building stock and implement efficient and sustainable living solutions into specific urban situations.


The increasing climate crisis and excessive population in cities are two growing issues facing the human society in the next decades. Our goal is to find new solutions to improve the low living standards in terms of the physical and psychological environment. Taipei, the most populated city in Taiwan, urgently needs a prototype as regeneration model for the urban row houses, which were mass-produced in the 1960s.


By the year 2100, the 7.6 billion people currently living on earth will reach, according to the UN, a whopping 11.2 billion. This increase can only mean that the need to accommodate these people's demand for resources, food, and housing will become an urgent priority. The UN says that “80% of the world population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050”. There are several cities in Taiwan with an overcrowded population density over 40,000 per square meters. These overcrowded situations might further burden the city’s infrastructure heavier, leading to an even poorer living condition if we didn’t immediately suggest a well-being living model. 

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left: population density 2006, Germay, Michael Bauer Research GmbH
right: population density 2019, Taiwan, NCTU TDIS

Climate Crisis

During the 21st Century, various computer models predict that Earth’s average temperature will rise between 1.8° and 4.0° Celsius (3.2° and 7.2° F). West Europe countries are threatened by recordbreaking heat wave each years. Even thought Taiwan is surrounded by ocean and is 70% covered with rugged, densely forested mountains, heat wave is still unbearable.

The Urban Heat Island Effect not only make our environment hotter, but also cause people mental and physical problems. The urban area full of concrete buildings make the situation worse. We are urgently need a new sustainable life style to face this crisis.


left: extrene maximum temperature, July 25,2019, Europe, CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER, NOAA
right: extrene maximum temperature, May 26,201, Taiwan, Central Wearther Bureau



Nowadays, many individuals dwell in the city separately, occupying houses, which were possibly lived by one family, in their tiny bedrooms divided from the house. The public social space is replaced by an excessive numbers of utilities and circulation space.

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Typical apartment: space usage with 4 members family size in 1960s Taiwan.

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Rental apartment: subdivided the original apartment into separate units in 2020 Taiwan.

A new model of distributed social housing in urban metabolism

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We design to change this “no-connection” situation. To face the ever-worsening environment. We design a row house prototype with three main elements, “equality skin”, “party core wall”, and “civic plate”. The result is a sharing thermal control layer that wraps the building. This layer integrate all the individual utility units, energy generation devices, green vegetation, air filter, raindrop catcher...etc. We create a shared common space at ground floor. This common space is not only where social activities take placed, but also is providing chances to be connected to the street, enriching the community activities and the neighborhood life.

1: House for All will be a new solution for urban dwellers, where people live from Overcrowded but Separate to Dense yet Together; where people celebrate the Party Wall, which Gathering All Together; where people are In One Accord, a Kinship bring people together in harmony.