* The BSB Design Blog.
Just Damn Good Architecture

A Home That Responds: Thinking Home Challenge

At BSB Design, we encourage our staff to put on their innovative thinking caps at every opportunity. In 2016, we held our first design competition challenging employees to create a unique and collaborative design for our Innovation Lab located at our corporate headquarters in Des Moines.

This past August, a new design challenge was announced – The Thinking Home design competition. Teams of employees were challenged to collaborate to create a “smart” home that aimed to maximize the residents’ daily operations.

Although this competition encouraged creativity, these criteria had to be met by each submission:

  • Each team had to create either a single family, townhome or apartment product
  • A minimum of 12 components must be used to make the home “think”
  • Seamless use of technology
  • Connection to nature
  • An overall cohesive look with wow-factor

With just four months to collaborate and design, a winner and runner-up were announced in December. Both designs were creatively unique and had a different approach to a Thinking Home, which made it a challenge for the judges to pick just one winner!

Team Thinking Home – Runner-Up

Team Thinking Home’s main focus was to be eco-friendly and efficient. The home was thoughtfully curated and explained with current-day technology. The roof of the living space was created by focusing on passive and active solar energy. Both seasons’ solar energy hits the solar panels, but only winter sun enters and warms the house. The roof also allows the warm air to rise and escape through operable windows on the north side. The home is built with structural insulated panels to help the heating and cooling systems. Everything in this home is smart – from the underground sprinklers that monitor water levels to conserve water, to the solar energy power that runs the home. Other smart advances include laundry appliances that connect to your phone, the use of geothermal heating and cooling, smart appliances, lighting, climate and security.

Team Right Home – Winner


Team Right Home took the idea of a “thoughtful” home to heart. The team’s focus was to create a home that responded to its owner, decreasing the time and effort of small tasks that can take up your days, such as laundry, meal prep and lawn care. Many of the components proposed in this home are in testing trials or have not yet been created, which added a creative futuristic twist.

The high-end technology the team used included Moley, a robot that can memorize and mimic your meal prep and do it for you. The team utilized Moley’s “arms” to retrieve, wash, dry and fold clothing and sort through packages. Another main feature of the home was the drone drop, a secure box for packages delivered by drone to ensure a safe delivery. The Moley arms would then scan the package, notify the owner and deliver the package to the necessary part of the home. Other aspect includes energy-generating flooring and an app that controls lighting, heating and cooling, window coverings, irrigation system, mower, pool controls and more.

Both designs allowed the teams to work together to create something new and innovative. BSB Design aims to hold design challenges twice a year to promote teamwork, innovation and, of course, fun!

UP