21 August 2010

A Termite’s Eye View of the World

Have you ever wondered what the world looks like from the point of view of a termite? Wonder, no longer. This wonderful termite pavilion, a walk-in structure made of wood measuring six square meters, will allow you an insight in to the world of termite’s mound.

As far as organic forms go, a termite mound is quite extraordinary. The pavilion, based in London Zoo is based on the work of the Termes project.  Based in Namibia this group of international experts scanned termite mounds and created the first 3D images of the inside of a termite’s domicile.

You may have seen their work in various documentaries, including the Life in the Undergrowth series voiced by Sir David Attenborough.  The termite pavilion takes a section of the scan and scaled it up – to an extent that we can now explore it for ourselves.  It is made of cross laminated timber and was sustainably sourced from Austrian spruce.

The termite pavilion was the brainchild of Pestival, who are committed to creating hands-on events to celebrate the art of being an insect.  The next major Pestival should be in 2011.  As well as being a source of fun for people, the project has another side too

The Termes project (Termite Emulation of Regulatory Mound Environments by Simulation) is looking in to what we can learn from the way that the termites construct its mounds.  As they regulate the environment for the insects inside, the project leaders believe we might learn a lot about renewable energy from them.  After all, the termites thrive within the environment that their mound creates. Could we do that too?

In the meantime, however, we can at least have some fun exploring a termite’s eye view of what their home looks like from the inside.