sapienza university of rome unveils its restart4smart project — a super-green smart home, entirely powered by solar energy. through a revolutionary approach defined as architecture 4.0, the project by sapienza applies the most advanced tools, materials and technologies now available in the construction industry with the purpose of building a sustainable house able to respond to the heavy demand of efficiency, comfort, safety and affordability set by the 21st century architecture. exploiting the huge and not yet explored potentials offered by digital modeling (BIM), mixed reality (virtual reality and augmented reality) and 3d-printing, the project will balance typological, construction and technological aspects focusing on design and innovative materials (xlam, aerogel, PCM, cool colors), renewable sources (OPV, LSC, energy storage), as well as the latest generation systems and home automation devices and equipment (heat pump, smart lighting, smart kitchen, virtual assistant).

solar decathlon middle east sapienza university solar power energy designboom smart house
restart4smart north view with entrance and wind tower
all images © restart4smart



the design concept, tailored for the middle east climate, responds to maximum comfort and energy efficiency, high structural and constructive simplicity, floorplan clarity, optimization and flexibility of interiors. in addition, the floorplan configuration allows expansion in relation to the needs of the growing household, as well as the realization of complex urban fabrics with multi-family, even multi-storey types. project’s solutions incorporate typical elements from arab culture and architecture and are based on four pillars explaining the number 4: shape, envelope, systems, and people. the smart shape adapts to the climate, minimizing energy needs with an architectural body completely closed on the east and west, while windows are properly placed and dimensioned on the north and south, promoting daylighting, sun protection, and natural ventilation.

solar decathlon middle east sapienza university solar power energy designboom smart house
restart4smart south-west view



the layout is organized around a central core consisting of a court and a patio for living and indoor comfort. the greenwall, fountain, and wind tower contribute to climate control by mitigating air temperature and facilitating air movements inside. the smart envelope is based on an innovative engineered wood system (xlam) allowing a flexible, solid and earthquake-proof structure and provides the best energy performance by combining aerogel insulation, phase change materials, cool colors and photocatalytic. electrochromic smart windows will permit to modulate the amount of entering near infrared radiation and visible light, allowing, in full synergy with the systems and equipment, significant energy savings, as well as ensuring greater thermal and visual comfort in accordance to climate, user behavior, and market conditions of energy. house smart systems employ high efficiency plants and appliances and building integrated PV solutions with energy storage to ensure maximum indoor comfort with zero energy consumption. energy production will be guaranteed by PV solar panels and a thermal solar system integrated with an high efficiency hydronic heat pump that will provide domestic hot water and HVAC heating and cooling fluids. the HVAC system along with electrical appliances will be managed by a home energy management system, based on cutting edge, self-learning smart meters, in order to dynamically adapt to internal and external climate parameters, weather forecast, opening and closing of windows, sun shades position and smart windows darkening state.


an innovative water treatment and recovery system will allow to safely reuse rain water, condensation water and grey water for clothes washing, wc, irrigation and cleaning. people will interact with the house in a smart way through the latest generation home automation systems to manage energy consumptions and comfort levels. restart4smart project leverages on the most advanced digital technologies: through the facial recognition by cameras and sensors, for instance, it will be possible to unlock electronic keyholes and monitor the localization of the house inhabitants. the integration of virtual assistant and BOT services will allow to communicate with a virtual house keeper, making the house management easier and improving its availability. the data analysis capacity offered by machine learning will permit to use technology to learn and implement predictive maintenance controls on the interconnected appliances, improving the system efficiency. finally, the project also aims to the experimental use of holographic visors and mixed reality in the design, management and maintenance of the building.

solar decathlon middle east sapienza university solar power energy designboom smart house
internal patio with mashrabyia, vegetation and wall fountain for microclimate control



‘our project has the overall objective of taking on the new challenges of contemporary society that require a different way of designing, constructing and operating buildings’, says professor marco casini, faculty advisor and project manager of restart4smart. ‘the project literally indicates the willingness to introduce a new approach to architecture that, taking inspiration from the traditions of the past, manages to exploit all the possibilities offered by the use of renewable energy sources and by making use of highly innovative and low environmental impact technologies and construction solutions. it is fully supported by public institutions and by over 30 leading companies that, as partners, actively collaborate to this initiative in order to guarantee the individuation of the most innovative solutions and the diffusion on a wide scale of the results that will be achieved’.


team sapienza’s restart4smart solar house will be built and tested in rome starting in december 2018 to be then transported to dubai in the competition site where, in november, furnished and fully functioning, will be exhibited to the public along with the other competing houses and evaluated by an international jury. starting january 2018 up to the first half of July, the solar house prototype by sapienza in construction will be visitable and open to the public with the purpose of making it a permanent laboratory for the information and training on the themes of sustainable architecture, conscious use of energy and integration of renewable energy sources in buildings. 

solar decathlon middle east sapienza university solar power energy designboom smart house
restart4smart architectural model with PV integrated sloped roof


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom