Award-Winning Architectural Bat House Opens for Bat-ness


Image from bd

Artist Jeremy Deller is bat happy; he loves these flying mammals. But they are becoming endangered due to the loss of their natural habitats. So he organised a competition to design a wildlife-friendly house for bats, to be built at the London Wetland Centre.

The winning project was designed by two architecture students from the Architectural Association in London, Jorgen Tandberg from Oslo and Yo Murata from Tokyo. Deller's verdict: "It's great, I wouldn't mind living there myself."


Image from dartford warbler

The white box looks like a picture in a frame. It has an invisible black roof to make the interior warmer. It is built of Hemcrete, an environmentally friendly mixture of hemp fibre and lime. This material allows the building to 'breathe' so it keeps the roosts at the right temperature.

The design on the front and repeated on the back is made of layers of computer-cut fretwork panels. They are not just decorative but incorporate the small, dry, dark spaces bats love.

The house has homes for at least 8 species of bats that have been noted at the Wetland Centre, and was designed with the advice of the Bat Conservation Trust.

It was made very cheaply: £120,000 ( $200,000).

The judges said that:

"The materials are simple and can be sourced locally, cheaply and from recycled supplies or even on site. The scale and design look reasonable for the budget available. The orientation and the different materials can be used to create the range of temperatures required - a certain amount of experimental development will no doubt be needed, but it is a highly adaptable design and could be adapted in situ over time. Could imagine it being replicated elsewhere, perhaps altering the materials and/or scale to suit each location and budget."

It's been a fascinating journey for the students, which has been outlined in their blog. Architects and enthusiasts can gain great insight into the construction from the pictures and descriptions.

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