Two landscape architects are down to the last three in an international competition to design innovative beehives, bat boxes, bird boxes and planters
The competition, called ‘InMidtown Habitats’, is run by InMidtown, the Business Improvement District for Holborn, Bloomsbury and St Giles, and the Architecture Foundation, to address the challenges of providing wildlife habitats in a metropolitan context.
The design teams were asked to create prototypes of beehives, bat boxes, bird boxes and planters that could be reproduced across the whole district. They had to fit into a business landscape and meet the criteria of an expert panel including a bee keeper, an ornithologist, a cost consultant and a bat expert.
Landscape architect Jon Akers Coyle paired up with Growth Industry Ltd to propose their three aptly named designs: b House, the Batwing and the Metropollen planter.
The three origami-themed steel structures combine a love of contemporary design and the ecological enhancement of the urban environment. Their designs work to help biodiversity re-colonise the capital by creating suitable living spaces in which both humans and bees, birds and bats dwell.
The other two finalists are: ‘Habi Sabi’ by four designers from architecture practice 51% and ‘Bee Lifts’ by Archmongers and Buchanan Partnership, which incorporates folding arms that will hoist the beehive up in the air.
Tass Mavrogordato, CEO of InMidtown, said: “We recognise the far-reaching benefits of working within a district that nurtures biodiversity.
“Not only does it create a greener, more pleasant working environment, but a study on the impact of our free urban bee keeping scheme demonstrated that employees who participated in maintaining the hives experienced a morale boost and engaged more in team building.
“We are very much looking forward to hearing what the local population thinks about these very exciting new designs, particularly as the winning prototype will have such a postive effect on the district.”
The final three designs are on public display in the courtyard at Central Saint Giles to encourage feedback from local workers, residents and visitors, which will be taken into account by the judging panel.
The winning design will be produced and installed in green spaces and on the rooftops and terraces of businesses throughout London’s Midtown area.