Team THU

The WHAO Team is the representative team of Tsinghua University in SDC2018. It is composed of 14 instructors and 20 students of different majors, including architecture, landscape architecture, built environment, environmental engineering, civil engineering and electrical engineering. The WHAO House, the entry of the WHAO Team, is a sustainable elderly-oriented housing product located in the outskirts of the city, designed for the one-hour economic circle in Beijing. Through the concepts of producibility, modularization, and prefabrication, we provide an economic, intelligent, sustainable and idyllic residential unit for the growing aging population in Beijing.



  • WHAO House

Design Philosophy

WHAO House is a sustainable retire house located in northern China, targeting at a typical Chinese family of one senior couple with pre-school grandchildren, and an adult couple who visit occasionally. We propose WHAO House, an ideal living model, to meet the challenge of exceeded urbanization and overwhelming environmental problems.

The basic strategy of WHAO House is “module & cover”.

Modules are prefabricated boxes of 3m*6m and 3m*4.5m. They are functionally specialized, each covering one or several functions including bedroom, lounge, kitchen, bathroom and equipment. Modules then gather into groups to provide adequate functions for living, and a combination of three groups with eight modules is proposed in WHAO House. As the family structure changes, current layout can be developed through transformation of exterior enclosure, interior partition and furniture. Each group of modules covers a whole set of functions, which makes it possible to be sold or rent independently to individuals or families.

The cover, the outer layer of WHAO House, marks the boundary and provides a transition between privacy and publicity. Together with groups of modules, they form inner courtyards where family activities and public communication take place. The cover also contributes to a comfortable micro-climate. During summer, it is open to allow natural ventilation. Spraying device on the cover helps bring off the heat through evaporation. PV panels on the top and greening on the west façade shade the house. During winter, the cover is fully closed on the north façade to keep heat inside and prevent cold wind.

We maximize the collection of energy and resources through the use of efficient solar thermal collectors and PV panels with solar-tracking devices. Also, rainwater and grey water is gathered and recycled. On the other hand, we try to reduce consumption by using innovative energy storage material and selecting HVAC system and other appliances of high efficiency. The layout of separate zones allows shutting down air conditioning when the space is not used, and a smart energy management system is applied for more accurate and customized energy control. Activities at home are integrated by an application: with AR interface, the house becomes intelligent and responds to users’ need in lighting, safety, air conditioning, etc.

Despite self-sufficient, WHAO House is not isolated, but a component of a dynamic community and a part of a larger energy, resource and information exchanging network. It is our deliberate answer toward sustainability, living and future.


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