The Hebrew language demonstrates the extent to which ancient Jews valued or, more accurately, revered nature for its life-giving properties. My favorite example of this sacred interconnectedness is the word for rain, which literally translates into “the coming down of water from clouds in the sky.” While this is fairly obvious, we don’t usually think of rain in those terms.
We think, “quick, where’s the umbrella?” or “drat, there goes my picnic lunch.” But the benefit of paying close, face-value attention to the mechanics of nature is that we can learn how to work within her parameters. This is something Israeli architects and designers have known for years, and consistently exploit in the most curvaceous, mind-bending ways. Mey and Boaz Kahn’s ecooler is no exception.
Based on two Middle Eastern concepts, the ecooler is one of the friendliest examples of cooling I’ve ever seen, and so much more beautiful than the big lump of whirring metal we call the “air-conditioner.”
The clay Jara, an ancient jug, used to keep water cool by seepage and evaporation through the clay, according to the couple’s design explanation.
The mashrabiya, on the other hand, was a creative tool to separate indoor and outdoor spaces while still allowing for an infusion of air and light.
The Kahn’s combination of these two concepts culminates in water coursing through a cool network of hollow clay tiles joined together through designated connectors. Designed to connect to an almost infinite number of hand-crafted tiles, these cooling screens can fit any sized room.
And there is no need to banish the cooling-unit to the roof or spare bedroom since its aesthetic appeal is likely to make it any room’s feature. It requires no electricity, and incorporates all of the clever passive design nature intended us to use.
For all of this, the Kahns received third prize at the iida awards 2010 competition organized by designboom in collaboration with incheon metropolitan city.
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