The ‘Cool Brick’

The ‘Cool Brick’ by Emerging Objects (Designers: Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael) utilizes the strategy of evaporative cooling, which was widely relied upon in hot climates before the development of refrigeration in order to passively cool buildings. Evaporative cooling involves the addition of water vapour to the air, resulting in a lowering of air temperature. For millennia, porous ceramic vessels were used in desert environments to cool water by evaporation through their walls. In fact, frescoes as far back as 2500 B.C. show slaves fanning water-filled ceramic vases to heighten the evaporative cooling effect.

The cool brick masonry system mimics the effect of water-filled ceramic vessels. Each porous and lattice-like ceramic brick is 3D printed. Modular and interlocking, the bricks create a strong bond when set in mortar and they absorb water in their micro-pores with a sponge-like effect. As air passes through the brick’s lattice structure, water held in the micro-pores evaporates, bringing cold air into the interior environment and lowering the temperature via the process of evaporative cooling. Furthermore, the printed brick shapes create shaded surfaces on the wall, helping to keep the surface cool and protected from the sun.

The cool brick was sponsored by TETHON 3D. More information about the brick can be found at Data Clay: Digital Strategies for Parsing the Earth.


  1. […] Material. “The ‘Cool Brick’”. . Accessed Nov 29, 2018.Boom, Design. “IAAC students create hydroceramic; a passive cooling […]