So you may ask “what do whale fins at the theater” have to do with green or with homes? Please allow me to explain. As summer comes to a close, I wanted to share one of my personal joys of summer in St. Louis. We have a fabulous outdoor summer theater season at “the Muny”. The Muny, in my opinion, is one of the jewels of St Louis. Being an outside venue with St. Louis hot humid summers, some cooling is needed. To provide it there are 4 huge fans that run when the show doesn’t. Arriving at our season opener this summer, I noticed the fans ran DURING the show. Ok, this was something new. A quick look at the program produced the answer – we had new fans that ran so quietly they could run continuously through the show.
This was cool – literally and figuratively!
Biomimicry and the Theatre
What made them even cooler (pardon the pun) is that the fan blades were designed with a philosophy (or perhaps a practice) called “biomimicry.” Biomimicry helps to apply the forms and functions found in nature to our engineered world. In many cases, biomimicry helps to pursue a “greener” solution – one that resembles the elegance of nature. This is a fascinating subject and offers new ways of solving issues in our engineered world. For the fans, the blades were designed based on “whale fin technology” and were modeled on the pectoral fin of the humpback whale (as explained in The Muny show program). “The blades, like the whale’s fin are not straight-edged, but rather serrated, keeping the noise from air displacement at a minimum.” Hence, the whale fins at the theater!
The Muny audience was delighted that the new fans operate during the show, providing us all with an even more pleasant and enjoyable theater experience under the stars in St. Louis.