Pollinators Pavilion

STONE HOUSE FARMS, HUDSON NY // CONSTRUCTION SUMMER 2018

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How can we build habitat for the species that are foundational to our food production? Much remains unknown about the 4,000 species of solitary bees in America, despite their importance as the pollinators for 70% of the non-agricultural environment. Playing on the form of the bee’s compound eye, our Pollinators Pavilions produces new habitat for solitary bee species at the Stone House Farm, a 25,000 acre model of regenerative organic agriculture in New York’s Hudson Valley. The pavilion’s innovative paneling system houses hundreds of nesting tubes for solitary bees and a solar-powered electronic monitoring platform. The diverse micro-conditions that we develop with our pavilion’s novel paneling system provide artificial nesting structures for solitary bees and models environmental stewardship in our Anthropocene age.

 

Team

Architecture and Design:  Ariane Lourie Harrison, Seth Harrison, Eileen Xu, Nai-Hua Chen, Victoria Ereskina, JC Perreras, Yuxiang Chen, Zongguan Wang, Agata Jakubowska, Brad Li, Spring Wu,

Curator:  Francine Hunter McGivern, The Frank Institute

Structural Engineer:  Shaina Sapporta, ARUP

 

Project Co-ordination

Ariane Harrison: Harrison Atelier

Francine Hunter McGivern: The Frank Institute

Ben Dobson: Stone House Farm

The Pollinators Pavilion is on display at the Global Design NYU exhibition "Collapse," June 12-29, 2018.

Pollinators Pavilion deploys a milled wood framework to support a cladding of cast-concrete panels, each of which houses nesting tubes. A spiky canopy on each panel protects the nesting tubes from rain, and contains a solar-powered monitoring platform that captures video footage when solitary bees trigger motion sensors. Each panel is conceived of as a vertical system to test diverse conditions (aperture size, substrate, orientation of and distance between nesting tubes) in order to better understand and eventually to optimize human-built analogous habitats for solitary bees. 

As an architectural object, the Pollinators Pavilion seeks to provide a sensual manifestation of non-human presence by amplifying the presence of solitary bees. Nesting tubes dot the surface of the wall panels and offer a visual census; cameras hidden in the panel capture and transmit bee footage online; and speakers within the pavilion relay the hum of the bees. For humans who might enter the pavilion with some trepidation, they need not worry: solitary bees are docile and stinger-less; they have neither hive nor honey to defend.

As an experimental strategy, the Pollinators Pavilion seeks to test and provide a human-made habitat for solitary bees and to contribute to scientific literature on solitary bees. The ability that the pavilion provides to monitor these elusive bees at close range but using non-invasive methods—without trapping, killing and pinning them as specimens—promises to contribute to solitary bee research.

Harrison Atelier’s central research question, “how can we build for more than one species?” challenges the conventions of human-centric architectural program while seeking a larger role for architecture in environmental activism. The Pollinators Pavilion exemplifies an architecture for multiple species, providing a sensorial and spatial educational experience for human visitors and simultaneously producing and documenting new habitat for its client non-human species.