- Experience, Immersive
- 2013 - 2017
Mahan was part of an award-winning team that devoted its efforts to providing sustainable zero-net energy housing that farm workers could afford.
The Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition comprising 10 contests that challenge student and faculty teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. More than 100 universities worldwide send their respective proposals to DOE for review. DOE selects 20 universities as the final competitors. These 20 universities have almost two years to fundraise, design, and construct their version of zero net energy building for the contest.
What makes this project unique is its visualization in augmented reality (AR). Mahan developed an AR application and formed the presentation and exhibition strategy to present the Aggie Sol house in Irvine, California, as part of his graduate program thesis project titled "How To Exhibit Architecture In A Meaningful And Effective Way Using Augmented Reality Technology.”
Mahan was one of the five people on the proposal committee who helped design, write, and visualize the UC Davis proposal for DOE, including the first design of the UCD solar house sent to the DOE in the fall semester of 2013 in his first year of graduate study at UC Davis design department.
This proposal was successful as DOE elected UC Davis by the end of the fall quarter as one of the 20 teams to compete in the 2015 Solar Decathlon.
Mahan was the Aggie Sol project's architectural manager from the winter quarter of 2013 to the summer of 2015. He assisted the team in developing and building a design that addresses health, living, and cost concerns—including inadequate heating and cooling, poor air quality, work-related debris, and affordability—associated with farmworker housing conditions at an affordable price.
Mahan took on specific responsibilities, including recruiting, conducting workshops, providing visual communications, and helping with construction, as the architectural manager for the Aggie Sol project:
He helped to form the design team by recruiting from diverse academic backgrounds. This included a multidisciplinary approach to include architects, landscape architects, graphic designers, and lighting designers, as well as civil engineering, structural engineering, and electrical engineering students from across the UC Davis campus.
Mahan held several workshops and classes to teach students about architectural design and drafting, model making, digital simulation and visualization, and lighting simulation (day lighting and electrical lighting). This knowledge helped the team to learn relevant professional skills and collaborate on its Solar Decathlon project.
Mahan assisted the sales and marketing team to create the branding, team name, and all the graphic visuals required for the UC Davis Solar Decathlon team. This helped to present the design visually in an expressive and efficient way and to raise money from other UC Davis colleges and departments, and companies in Northern California for sponsorships.
After finishing the house's design and getting approval for the structural and architectural details from DOE in the winter of 2014, Mahan joined the construction team to build the house for the Solar Decathlon contest. This was all presented in 2015 in Irvine, California.
Mahan attended the Solar Decathlon contest in the fall quarter of 2015 with the construction team to move and assemble the house in the exhibition field in Irvine, California.
Of the 10 contents, the team won first prize in commuting and affordability, third place in energy balance, and fourth place in architecture.
Mahan continued his participation in the Solar Decathlon as the 2017 competition design consultant for the UC Davis’ team, which included the philosophy of addressing the environmental and social needs of California residents.