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    HIVE CITY: A Habitat Design Competition

    Megan Basnak
    Mar 25, '12 9:53 AM EST

    Contributed By: Megan Basnak, M.Arch Student


    “The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others.” This quotation, stated by Saint John Chrysostom during the first century reflects the timeless appreciation that has long been held for nature’s worker species, the bee. It is this same respect and appreciation that has encouraged the Ecological Practices Research Group faculty at the University at Buffalo to organize a design competition dedicated to the design of a new home for a thriving bee colony that needs to be relocated.

    The competition, sponsored by Rick Smith and Rigidized Metals asked students to design a new habitat for a bee colony that is currently located in a building in Buffalo’s SiloCity, an emerging development led by Smith, located on a vast area of land containing three formerly-abandoned grain elevators, among other historic structures. Students were asked to propose designs sited in this up-and-coming area that would permit relocation of the entire “living body” of the hive, which is composed of a honeycomb structure as well as its inhabitants. The three-phase competition has already passed two milestones, the first being the narrowing down of ten proposals to four semi-finalists after a twenty-four hour charrette held in early February.

    The second phase of the competition consisted of the four semi-finalist teams presenting their schematic design proposals to a jury consisting of faculty members, the sponsors of the competition, and other members of the architecture and environmental communities. From these presentations, two of the teams were chosen to move onto the third and final stage of the competition.

    The winning proposal from these two teams will be built in SiloCity sometime during summer 2012. Throughout the competition, teams were able to receive guidance on their designs from University at Buffalo Department of Architecture faculty members Chris Romano, Martha Bohm, and Joyce Hwang, as well as structural engineer Mark Bajorek, Beekeeper Philip Barr, and Architecture student Alex Poklinkowski .



    Bee Tower

    “... an iconic gesture of the regeneration of the SiloCity site, both naturally and economically... material properties of the tower represent the cluster of material manufacturers around the site while housing the colony of bees.”

    Design Team: Courtney Creenan, Lisa Stern, Kyle Mastalinski, Daniel Nead, Scott Selin

    Honey Elevator

    “... a form that can respond to the patterns of the sun, can shelter hives that line the inside of this shape and react visually in context with the grain elevators...begin to imagine how a city of bees can be supported by a new type of structure derived rom these elevators, literally a Honey Elevator.”

    Design Team: Andrew DelleBovi, Juan Andres DeRisio, Vincent Ribeiro, Sergio Taveras,
                              Nate Heckman




    Reciprocal Dwelling

    “... relocating the current experience of the beehive through the creation of a protected space for bee habitation where humans are able to visually interact in a contemplative environment.”

    Design Team: Joey Swerdlin, Alex Galante, Kim Dai, Danielle Krug



    Bee Cube

    "...a structure constructed from recycled 2x4's designed to be an enclosure for both humans and bees, with one of its walls housing the existing bee hive assembly in its entirety, including the window frame, honeycomb, and exterior board...a garden of native plants on the roof further serves to connect the humans and the bees."

    Design Team: Joseph Sevene, Anne Camilla, Scott Archambault




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