Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

Los Angeles, CA


Public Exhibition of the SCI-Arc/Caltech Hanwha Solar CHIP House Opens January 17 at the California Science Center

By sciarcnews
Jan 12, '12 1:11 PM EST

Los Angeles Civic, Business, and Architecture and Engineering Thought-leaders Gather to Unveil and Celebrate CHIP—the Compact, Hyper-Insulated Prototype Solar House

SCI-Arc, Caltech and Hanwha Solar Team Up to Spearhead Innovation in Energy-efficient Home Design

Los Angeles, CA (January 11, 2012) – The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Caltech Institute of Technology (Caltech), global solar panel manufacturer Hanwha SolarOne Co., Ltd. (Hanwha Solar) and California Science Center are pleased to announce the unveiling of the SCI-Arc/Caltech Hanwha Solar CHIP House at the California Science Center in downtown Los Angeles. A ribbon-cutting celebration with Los Angeles Councilwoman and Mayoral Candidate Jan Perry, Director Eric Owen Moss of SCI-Arc, Caltech Resnick Institute Director Harry Atwater, California Science Center Deputy Director of Education Ron Rohovit, and Justin Lee, Chief Commercial Officer of Hanwha Solar, will be held Tuesday, January 17, at 2pm at the California Science Center at Exposition Park.

“SCI-Arc is an education and innovation anchor of the CleanTech Corridor, helping LA lead in sustainable design and architecture,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "I commend SCI-Arc and Caltech’s innovative use of solar power for the next generation of clean energy residential properties.”

CHIP was built by the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and sponsored by Hanwha Solar. It won first place in the energy balance contest at the U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored Solar Decathlon competition in September 2011.

“SCI-Arc and Caltech have really taken on the question of livability in American housing and offered a new sensibility for both its content and its character,” said SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss. “The CHIP is a welcome address to an alternative housing future.”

Through a partnership with the California Science Center, the house will be open to the public for free tours through May 31, 2012, giving Science Center visitors the opportunity to explore CHIP both inside and out. Tours will be available weekdays from 10am to 1:30pm, and weekends from 10am to 4pm.

“The Science Center’s Ecosystems gallery gives our guests an appreciation for how the living world and physical world are interconnected.  We believe the experience provides guests with the knowledge to become better stewards of the environment,” said Ron Rohovit, Deputy Director of Education at the California Science Center. “The CHIP House extends that knowledge with an innovative example of sustainable housing.”

Praised for its unique look, the 750-square-foot, net-zero home features a quilted exterior—fittingly compared to a giant pillow or spacesuit—where insulation is stretched around the frame rather than stuffed inside it. CHIP took two years, more than 100 students and $1 million to build. It would cost $300,000 to replicate the structure, including materials and labor.“

As a global solar manufacturer committed to building a clean energy economy, we are gratified to see Hanwha Solar’s photovoltaic technology used in such an innovative way,” said Hee Cheol Kim, president of Hanwha SolarOne Co., Ltd. “Through cutting-edge deployments like the CHIP House, we are providing an inspiring vision for a sustainable future. Hanwha Solar is proud to accelerate the path to a clean energy future by providing reliable, high quality solar modules that are being deployed at massive commercial scale today.”

CHIP’s progressive design was made possible through a transformative gift from Hanwha Solar—who was principal sponsor and exclusive solar module supplier for the SCI-Arc/Caltech team during the Decathlon. The house was equipped with 45 solar panels to power it through the entire duration of the competition and won first place in the Energy Balance contest. In temperate Los Angeles, CHIP’s panels generate three times more electricity than what the home uses—enough to power two electric cars along with the lighting, appliances, and heating and cooling systems. Most notably, the solar panels power an Xbox Kinect motion-sensitive video game system that has been turned into a master command center, allowing residents to turn lights and appliances on and off simply by pointing at them. A 3-D camera also sees occupants of the house and can automatically turn lights on and off as they move from space to space. This motion-sensitive technology allows residents to interface with their home in a more fluid, intuitive way.
The exhibition of the SCI-Arc/Caltech Hanwha Solar CHIP House at the California Science Center is made possible through generous support from Hanwha Solar and The Vinyl Institute. Additional sponsors of CHIP include NREL, Southern California Edison, U.S. Department of Energy, Dow Chemical, Resnick Institute, Peter Cross, Bosch, Tim and Neda Disney, among others. For more information and a video walkthrough of the house, visit

About SCI-Arc
The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) is dedicated to educating architects who will imagine and shape the future. It is an independent, accredited degree-granting institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs in architecture. Located in a quarter-mile-long former freight depot in the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles, the school is distinguished by its vibrant studio culture and emphasis on process. SCI-Arc’s approximately 500 students and 80 faculty members—most of whom are practicing architects—work together to re-examine assumptions, create, explore and test the limits of architecture. SCI-Arc faculty and leadership have garnered more than 500 national and international design awards and recognitions, including Progressive Architecture awards, American Institute of Architects (AIA) awards, AIA Gold Medal awards, the Brunner award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Academy Award in Architecture, and the prestigious Jencks and Pritzker architecture prizes. SCI-Arc is ranked second in design and computer applications in the 2012 America’s Best Architecture Schools survey from DesignIntelligence, and #1 graduate and #2 undergraduate architecture school in Western U.S. SCI-Arc is located at 960 E. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013.

About Caltech
Founded in 1981, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a private research university located in Pasadena, Calif. Ranked as one of the best engineering schools internationally, Caltech is blazing forward into the future in the fields of science and engineering. Academic home of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the institution enrolls approximately 950 undergraduate and 1,200 graduate students and employs about 300 faculty members. Caltech alumni and faculty have won the Nobel Prize, 65 have won the National Medal of Science or Technology, and 110 have been elected to the National Academies.

About Hanwha SolarOne Co., Ltd. (Hanwha Solar)
Hanwha SolarOne Co., Ltd. is a vertically integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots, wafers, PV cells, and modules that offers high-quality, reliable products and services at competitive prices. Partnering with third-party distributors, OEM manufacturers, and system integrators, it serves the utility, commercial and government, and residential markets. The company maintains a strong worldwide presence, with employees located throughout Europe, North America, and Asia. It embraces environmental responsibility and sustainability, playing a major role in the voluntary photovoltaic recycling program. In addition, it benefits from its strategic partnership with its largest shareholder, Hanwha Group, which is active in solar project development and financing and plans to produce polysilicon in the future. Delivering top value to customers through fully-integrated solar solutions, Hanwha Solar’s overriding goal is to set new standards in innovation and value by redefining what it means to be a vertically integrated company. Hanwha Solar’s North American Headquarters are located in Costa Mesa, Calif.

About the California Science Center
The California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, adults and children can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe-inspiring films. Its mission is as follows:” We aspire to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences, because we value science as an indispensable tool for understanding our world, accessibility and inclusiveness, and enriching people’s lives.”


General Info:  The California Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles. Open daily from 10am to 5pm. For recorded information, including IMAX show times, call 323.SCIENCE (323.724-3623). IMAX ticket prices range from $4.75 to $8.25. For advance ticket purchases, group rates, or to make reservations for any visiting group of 15 or more (required), call 213.744-2019. Parking is available in the guest lot at Figueroa and 39th / Exposition Park Drive at $10 per car, and $25 for commercial buses or oversize vehicles. Both the Science Center and IMAX Theater are wheelchair accessible.