Last year, The Architecture Foundation ran an open competition on behalf of the inmidtown business improvement district, calling for design teams to submit proposals for urban beehives, bird/bat-boxes and planters. The shortlisted designs were subsequently showcased in a group exhibition, hosted in an empty unit of Renzo Piano's Central Saint Giles development. 51% Studios Habi-Sabi design concept (above) was selected by the jury as the winner of the competition. The suite of habitats have now been produced and are currently in operation across Holborn, Bloomsbury and St. Giles.
Companies in Central Saint Giles, including Google, have each put up a combined nest box and roost. In order to attract swifts the London Swift Conservation has supplied swift call CDs which are being played daily.
The hive prototype (above) was tested during the wettest summer in history by local lawyers who set up a beekeeping club. The material is made of 100% recycled Kingspan insulation and thus retains some insulation properties. It weathers a soft gold and is also water resistant, with a 25-year life span, providing a secure, warm and dry environment for the bees.
In August 2012 urban beekeeper Dr Luke Dixon declared inmidtown Habi-Sabi beehives a success when the bees began producing dark (Chestnut) and light (Lime) honey.
The Habi-Sabi Beehive is a UK National Standard hive. The simple design is made from a humble and sustainable material made from consumer waste, which insulates and does not rot. Flat pack designs allow flexibility and versatility and can be hand assembled on location.
To find out more about The AF's current competition opportunities click here.
Habi-Sabi Swift and Bat Boxes at Central St Giles, courtesy Inmidtown
Top three images: courtesy 51% Studios