safari roof

Whatever one might say about the disadvantages and legacies of colonial rule by the British, one can never argue about the benefits it brought to Asia; Malaysia being one such beneficiary. Never mind the system of law, the transportation networks of roads and railways, the policing and statutes of governance; what the British brought with them was the subtle ability to develop contextual solutions with their technology. It was not that they were technically refined, their sports cars leak like sieves and one could trust English scones over English electronics any given moment. British mechanical brilliance came in the form of their battleships, the industrial revolution, something about the humanness of the British car exhaust note and the Black and White genre of buildings which took the tropical monsoon climate and turned it on its head. And of course, the Land Rover with its safari roof. The safari roof was a device designed for the Series Type Land Rovers operating in the hot tropics, a simple sheet of aluminium held off the top of the vehicle by metal feet. The idea was simple and absolutely brilliant: as a sun break, the safari roof sandwiches a layer of air for insulation, which, when heated sufficiently, simply cross ventilates. How well it works is something to be experienced, the equivalent of having the cool shade of a tree on the hottest day of the year. Balmy.

The safari roof elegantly describes the use of appropriate technology in application to a vehicle originally designed for temperate climates. It reduces the question of how heat insulation really works to the simplest answer - through the insulative properties of air, and then restates and improves the solution by allowing that air to move and flush out. Time to rethink air conditioning, time for some safari roof.



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