flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
catfish1 - bottom
Currently Reading

3D-printed 'cool brick' may provide cooling solution for arid locations

Brick and Masonry

3D-printed 'cool brick' may provide cooling solution for arid locations

Cool Brick is made of porous ceramic bricks set in mortar. The bricks absorb water, which cools the air as it passes through the unit.

By BD+C Staff | February 5, 2015

The Cool Brick is made of porous ceramic bricks set in mortar. Photo credit: The Emerging Objects Corporation. 

In desert climates, extreme heat and dry air are not just uncomfortable, they can be life-threatening. Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael of The Emerging Objects Corporation may have found a natural cooling solution for increased safety and comfort in arid areas.

Evaporative cooling is the process of adding water to the air, causing the temperature to drop, and increasing the moisture in the air, 3ders reports. The technique itself is ancient, but San Fratello and Rael have applied it to a 3D-printed brick prototype, called Cool Brick. 

The prototype was inspired by the Muscatese Evaporative cooling window, a system that combines a wood screen and a ceramic vessel filled with water. The Cool Brick is made of porous ceramic bricks set in mortar. The bricks absorb water and are designed as 3D lattices that allow air to pass through the wall.  


The water held in the micropores of the ceramic bricks evaporates as air moves through the system, bringing cool air into the building interior. This process results in cool, moist air while using less energy than other cooling techniques.

The Cool Bricks are modular and interlocking, meaning that they can be assembled as needed for the particular space where they’re installed. The lattice structure creates a tight bond when set in mortar. Meanwhile, the shape of the brick creates a shaded surface on the wall, keeping that portion of the wall cool. 

The Cool Brick can be viewed at Data Clay: Digital Strategies for Parsing the Earth until April 19, 2015, at the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design. Tehton 3D, a 3D printing company that specializes in custom applications for ceramic 3D printing, sponsored the project.



Related Stories

75 Top Building Products | Aug 7, 2023

Enter today! BD+C's 75 Top Building Products for 2023

BD+C editors are now accepting submissions for the annual 75 Top Building Products awards. The winners will be featured in the November/December 2023 issue of Building Design+Construction. 

Affordable Housing | Mar 8, 2023

7 affordable housing developments built near historic districts, community ties

While some new multifamily developments strive for modernity, others choose to retain historic aesthetics.

Building Materials | Jun 20, 2022

Early-stage procurement: The next evolution of the construction supply chain

Austin Commercial’s Jason Earnhardt explains why supply chain issues for the construction industry are not going to go away and how developers and owners can get ahead of project roadblocks.

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | Mar 9, 2022

26 ways to prevent cracks in brickwork

This continuing education course describes numerous ways designers, mason, and contractors can prevent cracks in brickwork due primarily to elastic deformation of the brick.

Sponsored | Brick and Masonry | Oct 4, 2021

Marion Ceramics Tumbled Thin Brick is the Future of the Brick Business

LATICRETE® MVIS™ are designed to deliver superior, long-term performance for interior and exterior applications

Sponsored | Voice of the Brand | Jun 5, 2020

Practice Style Transcendence with Brick

Get inspired! Brick’s adaptability has made it the premier building material for centuries even as styles come and go. Nothing says “classic” like brick, but nothing says “innovative” like brick either. Check out some examples of how fired clay brick remains a major presence in the 21st Century designer’s palette.

75 Top Building Products | Dec 16, 2019

101 Top Products for 2019

Building Design+Construction readers and editors select their top building products for the past 12 months in the fourth-annual 101 Top Products report.

75 Top Building Products | Dec 12, 2019

Top Building Envelope Products for 2019

Sto's beetle-inspired exterior coating and Dörken Systems' UV-resistant vapor-permeable barrier are among the 28 new building envelope products to make Building Design+Construction's 2019 101 Top Products report. 

Sponsored | Brick and Masonry | Sep 16, 2016

Stone and fire: The Museum at Prairiefire blends natural stone and man-made masonry to create an architectural icon

The museum tells a story of geology, culture, and the practice of prairie landscape management through intentional burns.

Brick and Masonry | May 11, 2016

Brick primer: Periodic inspection and maintenance for brick masonry walls

Though brick masonry is highly durable, it is still important to conduct regular inspection of the building façade to identify problems and plan to replace old materials. 

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021