Saturday was the first day of judging of the Solar Decathlon—the first three of six juries began touring the houses and talking to the teams. The 17 houses in the competition are built down by the river behind the royal palace west of the central district in Madrid. It is a dry dusty area, a former highway, converted into the site of the first European Solar Decathlon.

As a member of the communications jury, I am partnered with two other journalists/communications professionals (Javier and Miguel) neither of whom is in the architecture profession. One is with World Wildlife Foundation and the other works with a local radio station—they are both Madrid natives and speak only a little English. The architecture jury, composed of Glen Murcutt, Louisa Hutton, Luis Fernandez-Galiano, and Francesca Mandago are seeing the houses on parallel tracks, as is the marketability and financial viability jury, whose members include the president of Toyota Housing (did you know that Toyota has three factories that build prefab housing in Japan?). It was a hot beautiful day here in sunny Spain and the following pictures tells at least some of the story. Check out more at under "teams.