The Termite Pavilion at Pestival



A solid timber pavilion inspired by Namibian termite mounds is installed outside the Royal Festval Hall in London as part of insect-inspired festival Pestival.


The installation represents a 6m³ section of a termite mound, scaled up fifteen times.


It features sound recordings from inside a termite mound and lighting that dims and brightens to represent breathing.


Called The Termite Pavilion, the project is a collaboration between Softroom Architects, Freeform Engineering, Atelier One, sound recording specialist Chris Watson and designers Haberdasherylondon.


It will remain in place until tomorrow, Sunday 6 September.

Photographs are by Joseph Burns.

Here's some more information from Pestival:


The Termite Pavilion is a six square metre walk-in structure inspired by the inside of a Namibian termite mound, and will allow Pestival goers a unique insight into these extraordinary organic forms.

The piece is in part based on the pioneering work of Dr Rupert Soar and the TERMES project, a team of international experts based in Namibia who have created the first ever 3D scans of termite mounds. Their findings have been a embraced by entomologists and architects alike, and have featured in Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Life in the Undergrowth’ series.

For the Termite Pavilion, a team of architects and engineers selected a central section a termite mound scan and scaled it up to a size which would allow humans to move through it. The structure will arrive in kit form, to be put together on site. It is made of cross laminated timber, sourced from Austrain spruce, for reasons of sutainability, durability and cost.

The Termite Pavilion is an art and science collaboration between Softroom Architects, Freeform Engineering, Atelier One, Chris Watson, Haberdasherylondon, KLH and Pestival.

Posted on Saturday September 5th 2009 at 12:05 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • INawe

    why? ive seen this exact concept in a first year exercise. what a waste of wood. what is the point?

  • Well… no comment ;)

    Francois Beydoun

  • Steve

    Yay, more “slice form” stuff. So easy to create, and getting really boring. This technique was interesting ten years ago, but it’s really been worn out.

  • greenbananas

    Love it! Want to live inside of it.

  • W

    A feature on Noboru Tsubaki and his Michael Jackson inspired Moonwalker stage act would be great- the story behind making the insect/robot suit and the way it operates with the helium balloon looks awesome.

  • Beautiful forms, especial lit in the way it is. I would love to have this as a folly in my home.

  • Nathan

    I hope they have planned something for the wood at the end of the exhibit. For a temporary structure it sure seems permanent. Looks great however.

  • Fantastic Stuff Rupe..!

    Well done…

    Too bad I won’t be able to see it ‘live’…

    All the best,


  • nice sexy forms!!!

    look some pictures about termites…

  • Patrice

    Although the form-finding and fabication technique is old, this is a uniquely interesting installation because of the “termite mound” inspiration. I’d like to experience it first-hand for sure.

    Also, this method of construction has yet to achieve it’s single greatest example – and until that happens people will continue experimenting with it. OH those years of architecture school and topo-models – it’s created a generation of topography-obsessed architects. In 10 years, fabrication will be all full-scale stereo lithography.

  • looks like something we designed a couple of years ago:

  • This architectural installation exists to embody the natural ventilation properties of termite architecture. The installation featured lighting and sound scape that worked in conjunction with the architecture to emphasize the ‘living lung’ qualities of the forms termites naturally build. The installation was not an example of a construction method, nor especially about the materials used, it was about the functionality of nature’s architecture and insect bio mimicry in architecture.

    The fabrication methods and materials were chosen to minimize waste and carbon footprint, as well as for ease and speed of assembly.

    Lighting by Haberdasherylondon
    Sound recording specialist Chris Watson
    Architecture by Softroom
    Engineering by Freeform Engineering + Atelier One