Eastgate building





In 1996, the building named EASTGATE CENTRE got opened in Harare, Zimbabwe. The building has 5600sqm of retail space and 26000sqm of office space along with 450 cars parking area. It looks like a mundane building, but here comes the plot twist the building has no AIR-CONDITIONING. YES, it is aself-cooling building!! All thanks to the architect Mick Pearse who designed this building by taking termite mound as an inspiration.

Eastgate building


Internal structure of Termite wound

Termites are insects that are distantly related to the ants. Generally, termites built their nest amid a mound which is a skyscraper (compared to termites) like the structure of mud. Termite mound has small pores that are relatable to the chimneys. Atnight times,the air inside the mound gets warmer and rises out from the chimneys. Then the high humidity air enters the mound and keeps the nest cooler (needless to say,the air is cooler at night times because of high relative humidity). In this manner, the temperature is regulated. As a metaphor, a mound is like a breathing structure. At all times, the temperature at the nest varies between 25 to 30 degreesCelcius.


Mick Pearse got inspired by nature’s Air-conditioning system and had taken this as a challenge.

The EASTGATE CENTRE mall is constructed in a way, that it has small pores and ducts in every floor. The building adheres to the NIGHT-COOLING system, and every floor has a hollow space filled with Lego type structures where the air gets trapped. High thermal mass bricks were used in construction and the building is prickly outside.


Eastgate building

At night times, the high humidity cool air is drawn into the building with low-powered suction fans. The cool air enters each and every floor through ducts and gets trapped in concrete walls and in between the Lego type structures. The warm air slowly rises up and gets out of the chimneys. So, the next day when the air flows upon the concrete there is a heat transfer between the concrete walls and the air. By this action, the air gets cooled inside the building. The previous day’s heat is taken out at the night times and the warm air rises out from the chimneys. Plants encompass the building to reduce the temperature throughout the day.


Generally, cactus has a prickly surface outside. One of the roles of the prickly surface is to regulate the temperature of the cactus in a desert. The prickly surface increases the outsides surface area which leads to more heat dissipation. This is the motive behind the prickly structure ofthe EASTGATE CENTRE. The heat dissipates quickly from the building.

This is the Bio-mimicry behind the EASTGATE CENTRE and the lesson we learned from the termites and cactus.


In the mornings, the inside temperature will be 28 degrees Celsius. At night times, the inside temperature will be chilling 13 degrees Celsius. The design of the building has saved $3 million dollars by not implementing an Air-Conditioning system. EASTGATE CENTRE uses only 10% of energy when compared to the conventional building of its size.

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