- Direct evaporative cooling has long been recognized as an energy-efficient and cost-effective means for space conditioning in hot dry areas. In order to extend the use of evaporative cooling to include exterior or semi-enclosed spaces, a down-draft evaporative ‘cool tower’ was integrated in the project of a 500 m 2 glazed courtyard located at the heart of a building complex in the arid Negev Highlands of southern Israel, designed by the authors. The present article describes the development of the cooling tower system, undertaken in three phases: (i) Prototype analysis . Performance of a small-scale tower was monitored, and comparisons were drawn between varying rates and mechanisms of water and air supply. The results indicated a potential for substantial temperature reduction in the order of 10 °C under summer daytime conditions, but a meager cooling output when using a natural draft system. Mechanical-forced air flow was thus utilized in the actual tower. (ii) Field monitoring . The cool tower, approximately 10 m in height and 10 m 2 in cross-sectional area, was operated and monitored during a summer season; its performance was analyzed using a series of water supply mechanisms and operating modes. The system produced a peak cooling output of just over 100 kW, with a wet bulb temperature depression of close to 85–95% during all hours of operation, and a water consumption rate of approximately 1–2 m 3 /day. (iii) Refinement . Potential improvement in the system's operation was investigated through the development of a wind capture mechanism for increasing inlet pressure and air flow to the space. Both fixed and dynamic capture units were investigated, with wind speed and direction as well as internal air speeds measured in the small-scale prototype tower. The wind capture unit with the simplest configuration and best performance is recommended for future integration in the full-scale tower.