Cool islands to combat urban heat waves

The installation in the urban public space of vegetated cool islands, designed as places of pleasure and well-being, built by robotic 3D printing of raw earth recovered from surrounding construction sites.

A university project, a “low tech” approach

The memory of the recent heat waves, causing prolonged episodes of summer heatwave, is still fresh in the collective memory. It shows that it is high time to deal with the planning of the city in the face of the rising temperature due to global warming. Convinced of the urgency of tackling this phenomenon, the intensity of which is threatening to rise to a crescendo, researchers from the IUT and the Nantes School of Architecture have devised a solution in the form of urban cool islands. In partnership with the LS2N laboratory of the IUT of Nantes University, they are combining their know-how to install these spatio-climatic devices in public spaces, forming sources of fresh air that make the city more liveable during heat peaks, produced by 3D printing.

This TERRACOOL project, experimented with the implementation of cutting-edge expertise in robotic construction, is also part of a claimed “low tech” approach. Construction using 3D printing, which is easy to implement and reproduce in open source, makes it possible to combine research into forms adapted to needs, while conforming them to the reality of the specific environment of each installation site. As for the earth, which comes from urban construction sites, it is available in abundance nearby. It benefits from the characteristics of thermal inertia and humidity regulation, validated by its use for thousands of years in construction techniques such as cob, adobe, cobblestone, compressed earth bricks, etc.

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