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SCI-Arc/Caltech’s CHIP


This past rainy Saturday, Bobby and I finally made our way down to Exposition Park for the first time. We wanted to explore the area as there’s a lot going on between the Rose Garden, the former Olympic Stadium, the Science Museum, the California African American Museum, and even a secret USC Chick-Fil-A. We were in that ‘hood because of a weird architectural happening that we wanted to see: SCI-Arc/Caltech’s CHIP.

CHIP is a house located at the Science Center and is SCI-Arc/Caltech’s entry into the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon for 2011. CHIP (which stands for Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype) was made through a generous gift from Hanwha SolarOne Co., Ltd. and was constructed over the course of two years and displayed in Washington, D.C. this past September. The entry only got 6th place, unfortunately, but that does not change the fact that it is really, really rad and likely the most creative of the entries (you can take a peek at the rest here, Appalachian State being the winners).

We were intrigued by how it looks and hearing that it features shapeable walls, an iPad app that controls devices in the space, and denim-made insulation that also very obviously is used as the main aesthetic vehicle for the building: we had to visit it. Unfortunately, it rained this past Saturday and, as Los Angeles decided to stereotype itself that morning, Mr. CHIP was closed to the public due to the “inclement weather.”

Nevertheless, we poked around the building and marveled at its construction, reading about how it was made and what it can do. It really is an amazing little building that we would definitely live in (I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in that rad building?). It’s very exciting to see such innovation coming from Los Angeles. We’re not surprised and, although we are bummed they didn’t win, we’re very proud to have been able to see it–even if it was only from the outside.

You can check out CHIP at the California Science Center daily from 10AM to 5PM. It’s free to see and we definitely recommend you street parking versus paying the ten bucks in cash to stay in the lot. Also, while you are there, check out the other Exposition Park attractions. They’re totally great.

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