Microclimates by PostlerFerguson

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These conceptual cooling units by London designers PostlerFerguson would be made from 3D-printed sand.

Called Microclimates, the pods would be printed layer by layer on a large rapid-prototyping machine using locally sourced sand and a magnesium binging agent.

Water evaporating from the porous material would lower the temperature of the sand, in turn cooling the air as it flows through each pod.

A complex internal structure would create a large surface area for this heat exchange to take place efficiently.

The project was designed for Dubai gallery and studio Traffic.

More about PostlerFerguson on Dezeen »

The information below is from the designers:


Microclimates/Postlerferguson 2010

What strikes us about Dubai is the energy and technological sophistication of the city that has arisen in the last few decades in one of the most ancient areas of human civilization. Dubai’s architecture is striking not only for its design, but also for the leaps in construction technology employed to realize it.

Our proposal draws on both the hypermodern, global city of today and the traditional building techniques that are ancient Dubai’s heritage. Microclimates is not just an installation, but a building language that can be reused again and again to create new public spaces. Traditional Islamic architecture dealt sustainably with the harsh desert climate by careful control of light and airflow through elements such as the masharabiya, wind towers, and earthen walls.

Microclimates are built up layer by layer out of locally sourced sand combined with a magnesium based binder. Using custom software, Microclimates is based on a three-dimensional interpretation of the masharabiya built from local sand by using a large scale rapid prototyping machine (developed by D-Shape), with a complex internal structure whose large internal surface area efficiently conditions air passing through it by evaporative cooling.

Combining the principals behind these ancient building elements with the most advanced computer-aided manufacturing techniques, we are able to create new methods of construction that draw on the aesthetic and sustainable benefits of traditional buildings to realize a modern vision of what 21st century architecture in Dubai could achieve.


See also:

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| 5 comments

Posted on Monday, November 29th, 2010 at 12:46 pm by . See our copyright policy. Before commenting, please read our comments policy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/finlay.mcphail Finlay McPhail

    what is this cooling? I don't get it.
    Is it supposed to cool the ambient air in a courtyard?

    Does it have a water source? cause all I can see it doing is acting as a strange way of wasting water/a humidifier?

  • waterbug

    I think it's an interesting idea and the (simple) sculptural forms appeal to me. However, my gut instinct is that you would not get the full benefit of the surface area towards the core. Air flow through would probably take place but much reduced in speed and volume due to the resistance created by the small openings and therefore you wouldn't really take advantage of a lot of the surface area. You would really need to do some air flow studies and/or full-size mock ups to validate the concept. I'd be particularly interested in the thermal gradient across the volume. I also don't entirely understand how you utilize the heat exchange — in other words, how do you transfer the heat out of an occupied space using this? Is supposed to work like a typical cooling tower with coolant loops?

  • Matt

    Haven't people been doing this with hessian for centuries (the Coolgardie safe)? Seems woven fabric might create a more complex surface area.

  • PJN

    Is this another complex solution to simple problem? heavyweight buildings with small openings, ground coupled cooling powered by thermal chimneys/windcatchers and a fountain in the shady courtyard have been working in hot dry climates for years. why re-invent the wheel?

    But if someone can make em cheply and they work better then fine

  • http://www.asdfghjkl.com asdfghjkl

    It's nice!

    I like the way these guys are playing with fantasy and reality in their practice.

    (and I for one am looking forwards to checking out the power of the 'binging agent'. )