Just a Curiosity: Windcatchers

September 4, 2017

Hello Everyone,

Okay, so some times when I do research on a certain topic it takes me a very long time to finish because something else is mentioned and then I have to research that. This has been both a blessing and a curse. So while I was doing research on the Dreamcatchers a while back I stumbled across something that I thought was something else and had to share it. Windcatchers.

Now when most of us hear someone say Windcatchers, we usually think of those little spinning, colorful decorations that people place in their yards or that little kids carry around. However, the original Windcatchers go back a lot further than that.


Now I wish I would have thought about doing this one in the hot summer months but where I live it is still pretty warm. Over 100 degrees some days. And that is why the Windcatchers are made. To cool people and other items during the hot times.

Windcatchers are still used today in parts of the Middle east and surrounding areas where the climate is hot yet dry. This is where they have the best operational efficiencies. They date way back to Ancient Egypt and maybe even further. The design is Persian and can be seen through-out many of the previous cultures that have some influence from them. Even if the Windcatchers are no longer standing they are seen in hieroglyphics and in writings.

The designs varied. All the Windcatchers were developed for the particular area. This would depend on sunlight and airflow as the primary factors that were implemented into the design. The main area for cooling was often a dome like structure with a high level of insulation seated partially in the ground. Air would flow through a port in a tower high above this room and the pressure of the airflow alone was enough to push it into the sitting area or storage area.

Now, Windcatchers could have many towers and ports and they could do different things with the wind pressure. It all depended on what they intended to do.

To cool, the airflow from the Windcatchers would pass along layers of water before reaching the final destination. This would drop the temperatures in the room enormously. Some of the rooms, that even still stand today, can reach temperatures that are near freezing. Even in the hottest of summer months in those dry desert areas.


Today we use a common concept known as Chiller Units and evaporative Coolers. Yet we need energy to operate all of these cooling devices. Interesting to think how they came up with these efficient designs so long ago and they were energy sufficient. Meaning, besides maintenance and construction they operated on their own.

With a world gradually moving in a direction of green and renewable sustainability it is interesting how some of this knowledge is already at our grasp and already invented. Now if we could just properly implement it into our lifestyle and culture again we might be on to something.

Thanks for Reading,

Joshua Crane Dowidat



Leave a Reply