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Cooling Station is a respite from intense heat and light, shelter for a traveler within a hostile landscape. It is comprised of one or more conical stainless steel towers. Material, shape, color and excavation provide shade and natural cooling for hikers in wilderness desert areas.

Cooling Station builds on lessons learned in fabricating One Fold and Cocoons to achieve a significantly larger sheet metal construction. Instead of using the simultaneous folding/braking operation and purpose-made machine required by One Fold, Cooling Station uses a conventional sheet metal brake. Folding the edges of stainless steel sheets creates inverted keystone-shaped units with flanged edges for ease of connection. By joining these units together, it is possible to form sheet metal cones which can then be stacked to create extremely light weight large-scale towers with robust spatial and structural characteristics.

The stainless steel towers reflect light and solar energy and provide a shaded interior, while the chimney-like form has a performative character. Tying the towers to a massive foundation carved into the ground (so that it is both connected to the cool subterranean soil and isolated from the hot surface) creates a radiantly cooled interior and sets up a thermally differentiated air column. This column is completed by locating a large thermal storage mass within a double skin around the top of the tower and painting the top of the tower matt-black, to promote the absorption and storage of solar energy. The resulting “stack effect” draws air cooled by the foundation mass through the heated aperture above, naturally ventilating the interior.

The glistening vertical form of the Cooling Station is a beacon in the desert landscape; a visual sign of thermal relief for the hiker in a hostile environment. Upon entering the Cooling Station the heat and glare of the desert sun is left behind. Within the shaded interior the temperature drops. The interior ground plane and stereotomic bench are cool to the touch. Coolness radiates to the surrounding volume. Heat is drawn away through the oculus above, the rising air cooling as it moves across skin.

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Architect: Patkau Architects Inc.
Project Team: John Patkau, Patricia Patkau with James Eidse
Images: Patkau Architects / Brad Wilson