The Termite Pavilion

Joseph Burns

The much anticipated arrived at the International Arts Pestival in London earlier this week.  The is “a festival celebrating insects in art, and the art of being an insect…it is a rare creature: an international, inter-disciplinary, community-led festival.”  Inspired by the Namibian termite mounds, the six square meter walk-in solid timber structure  ”allows goers a unique insight into these extraordinary organic forms.”

More about the Pavilion after the break.

Joseph Burns

Based on the work of Dr. Rupert Soar and the TERMES project,  the pavilion is a 3D central section of a termite mound that is scaled up to accommodate humans. The structure will arrive in kit form, to be put together on site. It is made of cross laminated timber, sourced from Austrian spruce, for reasons of sustainability, durability and cost.

Joseph Burns
Joseph Burns

Project TERMES (Termite Emulation of Regulatory Mound Environments by Simulation) believes that we can learn a lot from how these insects construct their homes.  It may sound unbelievable but the team proposes that the insects’ ways of constructing their mounds will “have some serious implications on construction in the near future.”  The mounds are renowned for their ability to regulate and control the internal environments, and the insects utilize only renewable energy sources to supply enough energy for their race to thrive.

Joseph Burns

Could we really be taking tips from termites in the future? “No-one has ever seen this structure and we are revealing it to the world for the first time. What we learn from these mounds will enable us to change the very fabric of construction as we know it, so we build our own buildings on any terrain, against any backdrop,” explained TERMES. “With new computer technologies and processes, we have, for the first time, the opportunity to reveal, simulate and then embed this knowledge into our own homes, which are the greatest consumers of energy and generators of waste, ” the team added.

Joseph Burns

The Termite Pavilion is an art and science collaboration between Softroom Architects, Freeform Engineering, Atelier One, Chris Watson, Haberdasherylondon, KLH and Pestival.  To visit the pavilion.

As seen on bustler.

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "The Termite Pavilion" 05 Sep 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 Sep 2014. <>


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      i agree, especially if the termites continue to eat it. isn’ t there the danger of the whole thing collapsing?
      iwould be really scared to get inside.

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    sure it looks cool but what about all this talk about how learning from termites will revolutionize construction? yet the pavilion reflects nothing but the superficial form of termite structures? sorry but that’s weak.

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    mafoombey looks about the same and serves a much better purpose in my opinion, and does not feel the need to promote itself as the future of lifestyle and construction

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    it looks beautiful, but what are we getting out of this? Don’t see anything more as a test of how well we can use a computer…

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    This looks very cool but as an envirnmentalist I have to think that all those intracate curves created an awful lot of waste wood.

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    The sound and light added an a real 4th dimension to the pavilion, giving a greater sense of the breath ability, the lung like characteristics that the architecture of a Namibian termite mound provides. Well done Pestival for creating a truly engaging look into this detail on a human scale.

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