Efficient desert architecture harnesses low-tech and natural materials to minimize the effects of sweltering heat by controlling exposure to light and encouraging airflow. Inspired by these traditional desert cooling methods, London-based design firm PostlerFerguson created a series of 3D-printed pods that provide energy-free cooling through evaporation. The beautiful cooling units can be installed in plazas and public areas to create comfortable microclimates.
Traditional desert architecture often utilizes passive design elements such as wind towers and earthen walls to minimize solar heat gain. PostlerFerguson’s microclimate pods offer another approach that could serve as art installations while working to help cool public areas. The sand pods would be placed in plazas, squares, or along streets, and the evaporative cooling action from the pods would lower the temperature of their immediate surroundings.
Each pod is created using a 3D printing technique that builds up layers of locally-sourced sand combined with a magnesium-based binder. The forms of the pods are based upon a 3D interpretation of the masharabiya, resulting in a complex internal structure with a very large surface area. Water would be drawn up inside the pods and then it would evaporate, cooling air as it passes through the structure.
The conceptual cooling system was designed for the Dubai-based gallery and studio Traffic. It explores historic and traditional Islamic architecture as well as advanced production techniques. New methods of production, which draw on the aesthetic and sustainable benefits of traditional buildings, help realize a modern vision of what 21st century architecture in Dubai could achieve.