Team Oculus: A behind the scenes look at the build

Team Oculus: A behind the scenes look at the build

September 27, 2019
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As part of the university's project-based curriculum, a WPI-led team, dubbed Team Oculus, has spent the last month building and operating a house that runs exclusively on solar energy in Morocco as part of the Solar Decathlon Africa. Planning for this massive project and global competition began 18 months ago and included an MQP team, IQP and several other interdisciplinary groups. The result: a state-of-the-art home reflecting the region’s unique characteristics woven together with locally sourced materials. Take a look…

With a nod to the team name “Oculus,” the house’s centerpiece is an eye-like skylight.


Team members survey the unique structure from both the ground and roof levels.


Securing a bank of solar panels with a layer of concrete is a must. The energy captured by the panels powers the entire structure.


“It’s like lining up puzzle pieces”-Steven Van Dessel, director of architectural engineering. Each section of wood is specially cut to fit together for the house’s triangular pattern.


Working with local craftsman, Team Oculus members learn a new skill of splitting bamboo to make strips for weaving.


Large sheets of woven bamboo are used as siding for the exterior of the house, reflecting some of the region’s native beauty.


Unlike its simple exterior, the Team Oculus home’s interior was designed with modern-day amenities and comfort.


Dinner party anyone? Aside from being judged on structural standards and energy efficiency measurements, the team also had to show how the house could be a center of social life and entertainment.


Visual proof Team Oculus worked from sunrise to sunset.


A job well done! Team OCULUS member includes students and faculty from WPI, l'École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers (ENSAM – Meknes, Morocco), l’Ecole National Supérieure d’Informatique et d’Analyse de Systèmes (ENSIAS – Rabat, Morocco) and the African University of Science and Technology (AUST – Abuja, Nigeria).