Honeycomb-Inspired Terracotta Wall Can Cool Houses Without Any Chemicals or Electricity

Ant Studio’s Beehive is a pioneering solution that marries traditional cooling techniques with modern design to offer an eco-friendly alternative to energy-intensive cooling and air purification systems. Created by Monish Kumar Siripurapu, a New Delhi-based architect and founder of Ant Studio, the Beehive system exemplifies the firm’s commitment to integrating art, architecture, technology, and nature. As the country sees soaring temperatures this summer, with New Delhi recording temperatures as high as the 50s Celsius (over 122°F), the Beehive is offering a low-cost tradition-backed cooling system that uses properties of materials and physics to help provide cooler temperatures without electricity or coolants. The Beehive system operates on the principle of evaporative cooling, a technique that has been utilized for centuries. The system employs earthenware pots, which are soaked with water to create a cooling effect as the water evaporates. This natural process is enhanced by the formation of biofilm on the pots, which aids in air purification. The Beehive’s modular design is not only zero-plastic and zero-emission but also aesthetically pleasing, making it an ideal solution for outdoor working conditions in urban environments.

Earthen pots have long been recognized for their cooling properties. Egyptians fanned the porous jar of water to get cool air. The Romans, using a similar concept, hung wet thick material on the doors of their houses or tents. Others, who were wealthy, constructed artificial channels conveying water along the walls of their houses to reduce the temperature under extreme hot weather. These ideas from the past were analyzed, later assimilated, and are now being adapted to contemporary needs, demonstrating the enduring value and sustainability of traditional practices. The Beehive project embodies this philosophy, merging the cultural and environmental benefits of traditional methods with modern design and technology. What sets the Beehive apart is its zero-plastic and zero-emission design. The use of earthen pots is deeply rooted in Indian culture, where such pots have been used for centuries to keep water cool, making the craft easily available and recognized in India. This ancient wisdom is ingeniously adapted into a contemporary design that is both sustainable and aesthetically pleasing. The Beehive demonstrates how age-old techniques can be revitalized to address modern environmental challenges.


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