picture of Termite Pavillion

Termite Pavillion

Fusing science and art, Pestival examines insect-human interactivity. With this in mind, Softroom’s Termite Pavilion offers visitors a unique insight to how insect technology can be beneficial to humans.

Sited outside the Royal Festival Hall, a six square metre walk-in structure is based on a three-dimensional scan of the inside of an actual disused termite mound in Namibia, southern Africa. Through light and reverberating bass, this beautiful temporary public space educates visitors about how termites control airflow and temperature in their homes.

It allows visitors a unique insight into these extraordinary organic forms, as the interior has been scaled-up so that humans can experience what the space feels like to a termite. Made from cross-laminated timber, the digital scan was sliced horizontally creating 51 layers, 120mm thick. Each of these slices then formed a template for computer-controlled cutting of the complex internal profiles of the termite mound.

The Pavilion was a hugely successful collaboration between Softroom, Haberdashery, Freeform Engineering, Atelier One, KLH and sound artist Chris Watson, and funded by the Wellcome Trust. After Pestival, the Pavilion was later installed at the heart of ZSL London Zoo and now has a permanent home in the Wildwood at Escot Park, Devon.

'We feel really privileged to have been chosen as the Pavilion's new home. East Devon's beautiful countryside will be a worthy setting for such an important piece of art.'

— John-Michael Kennaway, Escot Park


Conservation Project of the Year, Observer Ethical Awards 2010

Further reading