Steamlab 21, a cooperation between VTI Kortijk and Ghent University as a preparation for ‘The Solar Decathlon Competition’


– Guillaume Descamps –

An innovating exercise will be started up as a preparation of ‘The Solar Decathlon Competition’ in 2018, through a cooperation between VTI Kortrijk and Ghent University. The project, named ‘Horizon’, is a challenging task for both educational institutions: Build a pop-up test house. The pop-up will serve as a testing location addressing specialisations taught at VTI Kortrijk, and will also allow to test prefabricated facade systems within Ghent University. The project is a consequence of the successful participation in the former edition of this competition. In the present edition, we will further explore the same issue: the construction of a solar-powered house.

The test house, which is called SteamLab 21,x will be built by VTI Kortrijk students, under supervision of Ghent University. The educational task addresses several specialisations of VTI, but also serves as a basis for UGent. For instance, the University supplies the drawings for the construction of the test house, and the students will account for the assembly of the construction. SteamLab 21 will be erected on the grounds of VTI Kortrijk and will be a real calling card for the school. The project will also be freely accessible to the public during the VTI opening hours, which ensures transparency. It will be mainly a testing site where a series of tests will be carried out by Ghent University. VTI will also provide for various wall assemblies in the framework of the project, to ensure that all the construction specialisations are extensively addressed.

For the construction of the test house, some sponsors have been approached. For example, Unilin is a capital sponsor, they supply the wall and roof elements. Other local traders will also contribute to the project. Once the pop-up will be fully finished, an event will also be organised. On this occasion, all the information relating to the project will be explained to the involved people. The Horizon project is therefore an interesting opportunity for many stakeholders.