Biomimetic Building Uses Termite Mound As Model

The Eastgate Centre is a shopping centre and office block in central Harare, Zimbabwe. The building was designed to be ventilated and cooled entirely by natural means — it was biomimetically modeled on local termite mounds. It was probably the first building in the world to use natural cooling to this level of sophistication. Because of its altitude, Harare has a temperate climate despite being in the tropics, and the typical daily temperature swing is 10 or 14° C. This makes a mechanical or passive cooling system a viable alternative to artificial air-conditioning. But long before the building was created, passive cooling was being used by the local termites. Termite mounds include flues which vent through the top and sides, and the mound itself is designed to catch the breeze. As the wind blows, hot air from the main chambers below ground is drawn out of the structure, helped by termites opening or blocking tunnels to control air flow.

Via: Z + Partners

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