The new Honey Bee Research Centre (HBRC) will be an iconic, state-of-the-art research centre inspired by one of nature’s greatest architects, the honeybee. Dedicated to honey bee health, the centre will focus on research, education and discovery, and is envisioned as an architecture of collaboration, ingenuity and efficiency.
The land surrounding the HBRC is envisioned as both a productive and social landscape, with a series of spaces delineated by pathways that connect to a myriad of programming, research, and events that the Centre will accommodate. One such pathway is the rooftop trail that seamlessly integrates into the site’s surrounding natural landscape within which the facility is situated. Serving both functional and aesthetic value, the trail leads to the HBRC’s sweeping roof structure and Interpretive Tower which not only becomes the focal expression of the public space, but also doubles as a solar chimney, reinforcing the sustainability strategy of the design.
The honey bees have been around for millions of years and are responsible for pollinating over a third of our food supply and 90% of wild plants. The grounds will raise awareness for and highlight the productivity of the land, both formally through cultivated agricultural plots and working hives, and informally through green infrastructure systems. The accessible roofscape is occupied by a system of pedestrian pathways and gardens for the growth of ediable and pollinating plants, allowing visitors to connect with the importance of honey bees in the overall agricultural system. The planting strategy of the site will seek to balance the ecological functions of the site with social programming by selecting native plants that are both suited to the site, but also attractive, and have sensory appeal. Furthermore, the Centre will provide predictable air spaces, known as Pollinator Pathways, that will sustain pollinator-friendly flora and natural habitats, underscoring the need to sustain these corridors for honeybees, bees, butterflies, moths, ants, and birds alike.
The new HBRC will also support flexible research and education for all ages, welcoming children, students and scholars from around the world. The large, multi-functional Discovery and Learning Space will support a range of functions. Flexible and adaptable, the space is designed to adjust to the needs of the Centre over the long-term — not only throughout the year, but also for years to come as well. Designed to high energy performance and LEED Gold standards, the mass timber HBRC will be a demonstration of sustainability, reinforcing the importance of climate change and its relationship to the vital role of honey bee health and well-being. The facility will utilize passive design techniques and features such as natural ventilation, a high performance envelope and mechanical systems, and landscape features such as rain gardens and a green roof system. Not only will the wood for the centre be sourced from sustainably managed forests, the wood will also serve to reduce greenhouse gases through counteracting the carbon that is created by the built environment. As such, the reduced carbon footprint of the HBRC will seek to support climate change mandates and strategies of future sustainable developments.
Credits: - Walterfedy - Civil Engineer - Shelley Forwell - FORREC Ltd. Landscape Architecture Studio - Landscape Architect - Scott Torrance - Integral Group - Mechanical and Electrical - Mike Godawa - Moses Structural Engineers - Structural Engineer - David Moses