Media Advisory: SMOOTH House, new building for occupational therapy, to break ground in Delmar Maker District

An aerial view of SMOOTH House, a new building designed by WashU students, as part of the 2023 Solar Decathlon Build Challenge. The project will break ground Nov. 11 at 5162 Delmar Boulevard. (Rendering: Team WashU)

WHO: Team WashU

WHAT: Groundbreaking ceremony for SMOOTH House

WHEN: 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11

WHERE: 5162 Delmar Blvd.

Over the last year, a team of architects, medical professionals and engineers from Washington University in St. Louis and Chicago-based architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill have explored questions about building design and people’s health through interdisciplinary design studios and seminars.

Now that research is bearing fruit. On Friday, Nov. 11, a new Smart Home for Occupational Therapy Healing — aka SMOOTH House — will break ground in St. Louis’ Delmar Maker District. Designed by WashU students, this energy efficient, net-zero building will feature research, training and clinical spaces for the School of Medicine’s Occupational Therapy program.

Next spring, SMOOTH House will compete in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2023 Solar Decathlon Build Challenge. Unlike previous years, the 2023 competition will not require the building to be disassembled and brought to a central competition location. SMOOTH House will be a permanent addition to the Delmar Maker District.

GROUNDBREAKING AND INTERVIEWS: The groundbreaking will include a number of WashU students and faculty as well as industry partners. Available for interviews will be:

  • Hongxi Yin, the InCEES associate professor in advanced building systems and architectural design in WashU’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and InCEES, the International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability.
  • Lisa Tabor Connor, associate dean and professor of occupational therapy at the WashU School of Medicine.
  • Jonathan Stein, a partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

To arrange interviews, please contact Liam Otten at 314-874-6331 or

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