The Wonder of Wonder

GeekMom Travel
Public Tour of InHome
Biowall Baby, one of the youngest people to tour the award-winning home built for the Solar Decathlon. The biowall is a special air filtration feature of the design. -photo courtesy of Team Purdue InHome

Last week Andrea Schwalm wrote a great post about the Solar Decathalon in Washington, D.C. I was really tempted to make the field trip, but rationality took hold and I decided against another trip to D.C. this year. (Read about the last time I drove to D.C., for what I call The Accidental Holiday.) Instead of touring the spectacular Decathlon houses on display, I stayed in Indiana–pout, pout–and rooted for the home team.

Wouldn’t you know, Team Purdue’s entry InHome came in second place! Those university kids not only designed the house, they engineered it, built it, deconstructed it, shipped it to DC, reconstructed it, and are in the process of deconstructing it again this week to ship it home.

Talk about learning life skills! Ha! And  you bi-coastal geeks thought all mid-Westerners could do was grow corn and basketball players. [insert victory dance here]

That got me thinking about my love of architecture. You see, when I was in my 20s I contemplated studying architecture, but I chose film school instead. If I’d followed that other path, if I’d become an architect, I would have wanted to be an architect like the kids at Purdue.  I’d want to be an architect who thinks about how a traditional looking wrap around porch engages the outer community and adds to the energy efficiency of a home,  about other passive solar design strategies, and even biowall air filtration systems.

In May, during TEDxBloomington, I fell in love with a Chicago-based architect and mom of charming 9-year-old Max, Amy Yurko.  It’s not just that Yurko designs schools for young people, so that they have lovely learning environments. It’s all the things she keeps in mind as she designs with her philosophy “The Wonder of Wonder.”  Though I didn’t have much time to speak with her in person, through the magic of video and YouTube, I’ve listened to this TEDx talk more than once, and I hope you find it as inspiring as I do.

Post Script: Purdue University is only about 2-1/2 hours north of Bloomington, my home. So when Team Purdue rebuilds their award-winning house in West Lafayette, Indiana–schedule of future tours to be announced–I’ll definitely get in line for a tour. Maybe I’ll ask Amy Yurko to drive down from Chicago, where her company Brain Spaces is based, to meet me on the Purdue campus, so we can can stroll through the structure in person, basking together in the wonder of wonder.


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2 thoughts on “The Wonder of Wonder

  1. Purdue was hands-down my favorite house! Would love to see this design become the model for any new “Levittowns.” I was just blown away by what the Decathlon students accomplished and what a fantastic opportunity the competition provided. Kalynn: next Decathlon, let’s go together 🙂

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