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Practice : Winter 2010
fEaTuRE ] solaR dEcaThloN working with them on this project has made me a better designer and leader. It has been an honor to be able to work with Team Boston and to be considered now a part of the legac y of the curio.house.” kevin horne, project marketing, actively involved in the solar decathlon since January 2007 as one of the project architects of the mIT solar 7 house, master of architecture candidate “Nearly three years ago I stood at a doorway, the entry to the BAC loft. I weighed thought- fully the pros and cons of walking through that door, a nd of joining a sustainable design committee meeting as a way to align my origina l drive to pursue a rchitecture a nd how it would fit with the educ ation that I had received to date in my two years at the BAC. I thought actively about whether to take a step, not knowing where this might go, a nd worrying that it might go nowhere, but knowing I had to do something, to move. The three ye ars since have been a blur, but I remember that Colin Booth convinced me, during a n e xperimenta l Saturday studio, not to walk away from our MIT Solar Decathlon e xperience, bec aus e we both had bigger things in mind. I met an eager BAC student, Sara h Howa rd McHugh, who with little architect ural experience, stood tall with us at MIT, a midst overc onfident design col leag ues. I ran into Michelle Stadelman in a third floor corridor of the BAC. She thrust her business card in front of me, and told me that she ‘wanted to be a part of this’ and would be soon. I sat with Colin in Dea n Jeff Stein’s offic e, presenting a pipe dream of an idea, a nd listened a s Jeff saw no option but to forge ahead. I met Steve Messinger, sharpie in hand, who penned an organization- al chart that would become the basis of a tumultuous and very successf ul educ ationa l partnership, which will live on after this project. I can still hear Professor Bill Mooma w’s exc itement, at Tufts, when I ca lled him for the first time from my little office in Wakefield, to tell him of our pla ns and I can see the eyes of my client, Rob Darnell, light up as I told him about this incredible ne w project at the BAC. I remem- ber routing whe atboard with Kristoff, who volunteered on the MIT house in 2007, till two am in an old Polaroid parking lot and calling Wendell Colson, from Hunter Douglas , a n inventor with over one hundred patents who invented our curio.house “heat glass” as we started the RFP, and asked him to ‘work his magic’ with us. We crafted the RFP with Michelle and Colin in a DC coffee shop, and then we flew home to take the proposal straight to Tufts. I can still feel the mixed emotions of excitement and anxiety when Colin called to tell me on my way to NYC that we were accepted. Would it be worth it, I a sked myself ? Time sped up. The late night studio sessions ran on pure passion. We fought. We were afraid that the administration would try to take it from us. We struggled to meet deadlines, to establish the identity, and the sketching, the sketching. We had midnight meetings at Kling Stubbins, Chinese ta ke- out at Bergmeyer, a nd late night printing at Menders. Our ideas cla shed. People joined a nd people left. Twice a week for months, we went to Ha rvard Square, to Soldier Design to work on our brand identity and website, and then had to get to work. We drove to Tufts, we found parking at Tufts, a nd we found Tufts! And then there was one last cohesive night during the pre-event workshop. We crafted a dream, fought through all the steps, a nd made it real. If only everyone c ould be so fortunate. director of sustainability lance fletcher in dc during construction visitors approach curio house, bottom right. 46 pRacTIcE