Melbourne ~ Australia
An original and innovative architect, Mick Pearce is particularly renowned for his work on the bio-ecological aspects of the built environment. Through his research into local materials, traditional technologies, and the natural systems of African termites, he developed passive and energy-saving systems of construction and design, particularly with regard to the ventilation and air-conditioning of buildings. Among his achievements are low-cost schools appropriate to the hot climate and local technologies of Zambia; urban buildings in Zimbabwe and South Africa incorporating natural ventilation through underground rock stores and surface vegetation to control internal climate and purify air; habitation on African coastlines employing wind and water to moderate extremes of heat and provide fresh water at the same time. His buildings have changed the appearance of Harare and influenced global norms of climate-related design. In difficult circumstances, Mick Pearce has been instrumental in establishing an architectural school in Zimbabwe and he communicates his knowledge through numerous workshops and conferences, urging students and peers to learn from the Third World. Committed to humanist ideals, Mick Pearce is an engaged defender of human rights and has given active support to civil society and pro-democracy movements in Zimbabwe. Mick Pearce has made important cultural and technological innovations that will become more necessary in the context of global warming, reduced availability of fossil fuels and urbanisation. He is at the forefront of ecologically sustainable design.