A beehive-like terracotta cooling structure being built in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. Credit: Ant Studio
Dubbed the CoolAnt, Siripurapu’s system comprises a honeycomb-like network of terracotta tubes. Water is circulated by an electric pump over the surface of the structure, inspired by a beehive for maximum surface area, he explains. Water evaporates from the terracotta surface when air passes through the tubes, cooling the air.
The studio’s cooling system was first conceived for factories and places where machines throw out hot air. With temperatures in summer upward of 50 degrees Celsius near the air exhausts, the CoolAnt system can reduce the heat to the mid-30s Celsius, its creator claims.
Ant Studio’s first model in a factory in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, is topped up with 200 liters of water every week, recycled by the factory, and used 3-4 hours a day, six days a week, explains Siripurapu.
An example of the CoolAnt natural ventilation system using rectangular terracotta as the evaporation surface. Credit: Ant Studio
“We are trying to re-adapt this in multiple places for different needs,” says Siripurapu. “We have implemented (it) in a café, in a school, and we have done one in a residence.”
Ant Studio’s work is also providing custom for local potters, who Siripurapu says are losing out to advanced manufacturing techniques. Typically, one cooling system requires around 700 tubes. Siripurapu says the studio is looking to scale up, and is fundraising and consulting with organizations like the United Nations Environmental Programme.
A traditional wind tower, or “barjeel,” in Dubai. The structure is open-sided at the top, with an interior dividing panel encouraging a cooler breeze to divert down into the building while air pressure forces warmer air up and out of the other side. Credit: KARIM SAHIB/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
“Civilization,” Siripurapu says, “cannot continue to build the same way that we are doing.”
“Unfortunately, as an architect, we are used to looking at a single client … we don’t really look at the bigger picture,” he adds. “The motivation now, what we are trying to do, is (see) how our spaces, our interventions, can actually impact millions of people.”
“We can still be very sustainable and make something really good.”