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Joseph Wheeler

  • Professor

Joe Wheeler is a professor of architecture at Virginia Tech, co-director of the university’s Center for Design Research, and a globally recognized innovator in the areas of housing industrialization, environmental sustainability, and technology integration.

As leader of Virginia Tech’s FutureHAUS project, Wheeler has spent two decades helping student researchers and industry, government, and academic partners explore solutions to the world’s global housing challenges. Through FutureHAUS projects, Wheeler guides students in applied research that also engages industry partners in how to make homes more smart, efficient, affordable, and sustainable to meet the needs of the world’s diverse, fast-growing population.

His areas of expertise include smart home technology; the use of modular and industrialized processes in homebuilding; energy efficiency and green innovation in homebuilding; housing accessibility for diverse age groups and aging populations; and the engineering of “flex spaces” for smaller homes that still deliver on occupants’ needs. Wheeler’s teaching and research has long focused on the areas of environmental and sustainable design. He has lead Virginia Tech’s interdisciplinary Solar Decathlon projects in 2005, 2009 and 2010 and 2018 to build the world’s best solar home. The 2010 Virginia Tech entry, Lumenhaus, won first place overall in the international competition in Madrid, Spain, as well as the first national Honor Award for a university from the American Institute of Architects. Most recently, further validating his future building concept, his FutureHAUS Dubai won first place overall in the 2018 Solar Decathlon Middle East.

In 2016 he received the HIVE 100 Award as one of the top innovators in housing in the country by Builder Magazine. Other awards include a national design honor award from the AIA, the NCARB Prize for creative collaboration between the academy and the profession, the Virginia Society AIA Research Prize, and the Xcaliber University Prize for Excellence in Outreach. He has offered testimony before Congress regarding national energy issues and worked with U.S. international government agencies on issues of sustainability, affordable housing, disaster relief, and modular construction.

The FutureHAUS, after its successful performance in the Solar Decathlon Middle East in 2018 and its subsequent exhibitions in Times Square New York and Washington DC in 2019., was most recently featured at World EXPO (2021-22) in Dubai, UAE for a six month exhibition where the house received over one million visitors.

Sustainability, Renewable Energy, Prefabrication, Industrialization, Architecture

Architecture Design Studio
Professional Practice

  • 2005 Solar Decathlon DC
  • 2007 Extreme Makeover Home Edition Concept Home
  • 2008 Milan International Furniture Fair Exhibition
  • 2008 IMM Cologne International Furniture Fair Exhibition
  • 2009 Solar Decathlon DC 2010 Solar Decathlon Middle East
  • 2014 FutureHAUS Kitchen of the Future KBIS IBS, Las Vegas
  • 2015 FutureHAUS Bathroom of the Future, KBIS IBS Las Vegas
  • 2016 Koncept Home Greenbuild w/ Hanley Wood and KB Homes, LA, Ca.
  • 2017 FutureHAUS Living Room of the Future, KBIS IBS Orlando Fl.
  • 2018 Solar Decathlon Middle East, Dubai UAE 2021 FutureHAUS EXPO2020 Dubai, UAE

2022 Lifetime Achievement Award, USDOE/NREL-Solar Decathlon Richard King Award.

EXPO2020 Worlds Fair Exhibition of FutureHAUS, Dubai, UAE. Sept 2021- April 2022.

First Place Overall, Solar Decathlon Middle East Competition (SDME), FutureHAUS, 2018.

First Place Architecture Subcategory. SDME. Juror: Billie Faircloth, KTA Architects.

First Place Overall, Solar Decathlon Europe Competition (SDE), LumenHAUS, 2010.

International AIA Award, Institute Honor Award for Architecture, LumenHAUS, 2012.

First Place Architecture, SDE Competition, famous Australian Architect Juror: Glenn Murcutt, 2010.


Masters of Architecture, Virginia Tech

B.S. Architecture, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University