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    HIVE CITY Update: And the Winner Is...

    Megan Basnak
    May 30, '12 3:18 PM EST

    Prior to the completion of the spring semester, members of the Ecological Practices Research Group faculty at the University at Buffalo in conjunction with competition sponsor Rick Smith and Rigidized Metals announced the winning proposal for their HIVE CITY bee habitat design competition. Out of two finalist teams, a group of 3-1/2 year Master of Architecture students and their proposal entitled Bee Tower won the right to have their design fabricated and constructed on a predetermined site in Buffalo's SiloCity, which is an emerging development led by Smith that includes a vast area of land that contains three formerly-abandoned grain elevators, as well as several other historic structures. Members of the winning project team include:

    Courtney Creenan, M. Arch + MUP, 2012                                                                                  

    Kyle Mastalinski, M. Arch + MUP, 2013                                                                                

    Daniel Nead, M. Arch + MUP, 2013                                                                                            

    Scott Selin, M. Arch, 2012                                                                                                                 

    Lisa Stern, M. Arch, 2012                                                                                                                                                                      

    Below, you will find a description of the project submitted by the project team, as well as a few photos documenting the beginning stages of fabrication and construction. More information about the project and its progress can be found at


    Bee Tower

    The Bee Tower is an iconic gesture of the regeneration of the SiloCity site, both naturally and economically.  The material properties of the tower represent the cluster of material manufactures around the site while housing the colony of bees. Visitors enter the bee tower from below and look up at it, similar to the silos and bins of Marine A.  The hive is contained within a bee cab, a separate object from the tower structure hung within.  It provides protection, warmth and separates entry access between bees and humans.   Professional beekeepers gain access to the hive by lowering it, which allows them to ensure the health and safety of the bees.  This feature also caters to school groups that may visit the site allowing children to get a close up view.  The panels on the tower are oriented to protect the hive and visitors from the wind, allow for solar gain and shading, and to grant viewing of the cab from outside the tower.  The tower’s orientation also frames key views of the surrounding historic grain elevators and the new upcoming developments of SiloCity.

    The construction phase started May 14th at the University at Buffalo Material and Methods Shop. The exterior metal panels were developed by the team in coordination with and fabricated by the project sponsor, Rigidized Metals. The entire project will be fabricated by the team of students, with completion and installation slated for the beginning of June. 

    A special thanks would like to be given to the following people and organizations:

    Project Sponsor: Rick Smith, Rigidized Metals
                                   UB School of Architecture and Planning


    Fabrication Assistants: Brian Fentzke, B.S. Arch 2014
                                              Adrian Solecki, M. Arch 2013

    Faculty Advisors:  Martha Bohm
                                    Joyce Hwang
                                    Christopher Romano

    Consultants:   Jim Watkins, Site Consultant
                              Philip Barr, Beekeeper
                              Peter Grace, Structural engineer
                              Mark Bajorek, Structural engineer
                              Alex Poklinkowski, Beekeeper + B.S. Arch, 2014


    Existing Hive



    Early Fabrication



    Fabrication of Bee Cab



    Assembly of Framework



    Completing Structure



    Stacks of Cut and Folded Panels at Rigidized Metals



    Panel Close-Up



    Site Preparation



    Site Preparation

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