2021 Honorable Mention – Brianna Kucharski

Sunrise Inn

Medium: Digital drawing

Sunrise Inn is a proposed zero-energy lodging unit and experience sited in Hawthorne, California. From an artistic standpoint, my projects aims to combine the sculptural with the scientific. I believe that as designers, we are charged with not only making our designs compatible with the energy needs of the future, but we must also consider how aesthetics can play a role in the adoption of greener building alternatives. I strongly believe that there is much untapped potential in exploring how green technology can be used for artistic purposes, thus I challenged myself to rethink typical arrangements of solar panels.

The beauty and power of sunlight is at the heart of this project in many aspects. The rooftop undulates in a unique pattern that opens the opportunity for natural lighting to pour in through clerestory windows as I have shown in my drawings. This would not only make the space more attractive and comforting to exist in, but would also reduce the need for much electrical lighting during the daytime, thus further boosting the project’s energy performance. Additionally, the overhang of this roof design helps to naturally maintain the temperature inside of the unit through a passive solar heating system: during summer months, the overhang shades the space and keeps it cooler and during winter months, sunlight can still reach the interior and provide natural heating.

When designing this project, I used the PV Watts Calculator created by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in order to research optimal angles for sun exposure in Hawthorne’s climate as well as to estimate the approximate amount of energy I could expect to generate given the surface area of the panels in my design. I found through this research that the optimal tilt for solar panels in this region was 32°, therefore the majority of the panels on the rooftop fall close to this value.​ I researched average energy consumption data for residential buildings in California to get a sense of the necessary energy requirements I would need to produce. I found through this analysis that my design exceeded these amounts, thus I could confidently consider this a zero-energy proposal!

In producing this project, I have gathered great interest in continuing to explore creative ways to incorporate green technology into architectural and artistic spaces.