Nature’s Skyscrapers: Termite Mounds - Stone Lodges

Mound-building Termites are nature’s way of showing that architectural intelligence and synchronization can be found in the smallest of creatures. A termite is the size of the moon on your fingernails but is capable of creating mega structures from simple materials like clayey sand and barks of wood that tower up to 30 feet tall. Anything this little creature is able to chew on becomes a part of its architectural marvel.

Much like Stone Lodges, mound-building termites use organic and completely natural materials that mostly include wood, stone and sand. But the termite goes a step further by using dung, grass, leaves and roots to strengthen their nests and mounds. Though they might seem shapeless and haphazard on the outside, the inside of these massive mounds are highly intricate and masterfully planned. Termites build complex structures of highly excavated subsoil and eroded tunnels with a mixture of sand and clay in the perfect proportion to make their nests and mounds, which are temperature-controlled environments that include elaborate ventilation and cooling systems, and specialized chambers that store food, contain fungal gardens, hold eggs, and house the egg-producing queen. As a colony, they are able to create worlds that far exceed their individual capabilities.

To the human eyes, a termite mound appears to be a lump of dirt randomly found at mildly grassy lands. But each mound has an intricate system of interconnected tunnels that go all the way down to six feet below the ground and continue upwards to form a skyscraper-like mound above on the surface. Years ago when the first termite mound was discovered and broken apart scientists found that the central tunnel and the other chambers could naturally work as an air-conditioner that pushed warm air up and let cold air sink.

A simple mound built by termites can hold up to a million soldiers in their arsenal keeping their queen, safe, at the lowest floor and constantly building and rebuilding homes that protect the colonies within from fire and water and ensure the safety of the eggs laid by the queen. Shifts in climatic conditions trigger the termites to quickly change the shape of their mound; the central tunnel collapses to give way to a structure that is shaped like a dome. This also keeps the mound’s temperature in control through harsh conditions.

Each termite chews constantly, exchanging a good amount of their sticky saliva and fungi to keep the mound together and give it the strength to withstand the harshest of nature’s ever-changing climatic conditions. Working independently, without any coordinator or blueprint to reference, these termites purely rely on synchronization and hard work to build these towering masterpieces.

Inspired by the masterpieces built by these little creatures, Earthitects has replicated some of these features found in termite mounds at Stone Lodges, especially to help keep the luxury private residences naturally cool and well ventilated.

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