How to cope with high temperature in Spain’s summer (2) Water

botijos

The thermal sensation is influenced by temperature, but also by humidity: to much humidity can fast become annoying, but a bit of water well used ca be of help . During the 1992 Expo in Seville there was a lot of buzz about the sprinkler systems that allowed improving the thermal feeling in public spaces.

In the Spanish tradition the botijo (a porous clay water container) is an example of adaptation to summer heat: the water inside transpires through the ceramic pores and, getting in contact with dry external air, evaporates, extracting energy from inner water and refreshing it. Openings are small, so most of the evaporation happens through the ceramic wall. This is evaporative cooling.

Can this be done with a building? Yes, but it is not that common (or perhaps, you do not see it). The  citizen initiatives Pavillion in Expo Zaragoza 2008, a project by Ricardo Higueras, was a quite figurative attempt to build a oversize botijo. On the other side, the use of ceramic building materials, something quite common in Spain, contributes in part to that effect (if ceramic elements are allowed to transpire) and andalusian patios, with fountains inside, can play a similar role…

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