Student designed "Elevator B" tower to boost Buffalo's bee populations

Courtney Creenan, Kyle Mastalinski, Daniel Nead, Lisa Stern, Scott Selin
© Courtney Creenan, Kyle Mastalinski, Daniel Nead, Lisa Stern, Scott Selin

Whether it's from habitat loss, chemical contamination or disease, the sharp decline of bee populations in recent years has caused serious concern. Whatever it is, it's clear that wild bees need help, and it's with this aim to provide them with better habitats that architecture students at the University of Buffalo created this shiny, skyscraper-style structure in the middle of a site filled with abandoned silos.

© Courtney Creenan, Kyle Mastalinski, Daniel Nead, Lisa Stern, Scott Selin

Made out of standard steel angle and tube sections, the structure's panelized surfaces were perforated using a parametric design algorithms to allow for natural ventilation and light.

© Courtney Creenan, Kyle Mastalinski, Daniel Nead, Lisa Stern, Scott Selin

The 22-foot tall tower for bees features a pulley-operated, hexagonal cypress box or "beecab" which can be moved up and down for beekeeper maintenance. The box also has a laminated glass bottom that allows visitors to see what's going on inside the hive itself.

© Courtney Creenan, Kyle Mastalinski, Daniel Nead, Lisa Stern, Scott Selin
© Courtney Creenan, Kyle Mastalinski, Daniel Nead, Lisa Stern, Scott Selin

Winning the school's "Hive City" competition, the team of students -- Courtney Creenan, Kyle Mastalinski, Daniel Nead, Lisa Stern and Scott Selin -- all had this to say about their project:

Elevator B is an urban habitat for a colony of honeybees, which originally occupied a boarded window in an abandoned office building in Buffalo, NY [see video here]. Although not created for a specific client organization per se, the project has generated a great deal of public curiosity because of the combination of the colony of honeybees, an interesting and until very recently, a restricted-access site, and a well-designed object. The site, Silo City, is a group of largely abandoned grain elevators and silos on the Buffalo River. Elevator B is intended as a symbol of the site's environmental and economic regeneration.

© Courtney Creenan, Kyle Mastalinski, Daniel Nead, Lisa Stern, Scott Selin

So far, the structure has proven to be more than just a bee habitat; it's been drawing visitors from local schools, nearby nature preserves and farms, and overall, prompting people and organizations alike to confront the issues surrounding bee colony collapse disorder. More over at Hive City, University of Buffalo and Dezeen.

Tags: Architecture | Bees | Buffalo

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