Long Beach, CA, USA
Eric Askeland, Tim Enslow, Albert Gonzalez, Oscar Guerra, Jesus Mateo
A biomimicry-inspired insulation grid that is applied to exterior walls of existing buildings to reduce interior temperatures of buildings passively.
Intended to be used in urban coastal regions like Southern California, Phalanx is a panel system that you construct onto the walls of buildings that get hot due to direct sunlight. Phalanx helps cool down the walls of buildings to keep the interior temperature cool and temperate.
1. What is the problem you’re trying to solve and how does your design help?
The urban built environment is responsible for 30% of annual global greenhouse emissions, with commercial buildings accounting for over a third of the built environment emissions. Reducing these emissions by reducing the use of traditional cooling is an effective way of addressing climate change. Phalanx requires no electricity, has no moving parts, can be assembled on existing architecture, makes use of otherwise wasted water, and ultimately saves money while it cools.
2. What makes your design different than previous or current approaches to the problem you’re trying to solve? What are the social, cultural, and/or environmental wins that your innovation provides?
Phalanx is a unique design in its execution and its implementation. The way Phalanx combats heat absorption is through biomimicry design. The three-layered system highlights different animals, including termites and camels, whose strength is in their ability to thrive in hot climates. Each layer of Phalanx Insulation is specially designed to focus on heat dispersal. One of the key design features of Phalanx Insulation is its ability to be applied to most exterior building faces without dramatic architectural alteration. The most sustainable designs are ones in which you don’t have to destroy and rebuild, but our competitors require entire sites to be altered to implement their designs. Phalanx’s focus is to be a sustainable solution in all aspects including materials, structure, and construction.
3. How did you apply lessons from living organisms to your design and what difference did that make?
The Phalanx system includes three layers. The first layer has a wavy patterns and reflective surface inspired by the cactus and Saharan silver ant. The second layer, inspired by cathedral termites, directs hot air up and out of the system. The third layer was inspired by the Saharan camel and wheat, and can collect the morning dew from the air or pull up gray water from an underlying trough. Phalanx requires no electricity, has no moving parts, can be assembled on existing architecture, makes use of otherwise wasted water, and ultimately saves money while it cools.