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Honey Bee Research Centre

Moriyama & Teshima Architects

WINNER OF A 2019 CANADIAN ARCHITECT AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

Beekeeping frames inspired the use of wood cells for the ceiling, walls and seating.

The new Honey Bee Research Centre is a place for research and education. The hive-like design takes its inspiration from bees, learning from one of nature’s greatest architects.

A ground-level pathway rises up onto a rooftop garden, allowing visitors to loop around in a manner similar to a bee’s flight path. The pollinator-friendly landscape on the roof and around the centre includes working hives, native plantings and agricultural plots. Shallow pools serve as fountains for flying insects, and introduce opportunities for up-close viewing and learning.

Pollinator gardens carpet the centre’s roof and surrounding landscape.

A tower serves as an interpretive centre and solar chimney. Its exhibits raise awareness of pollinator pathways—natural corridors that allow bees, butterflies, moths and other insects to move through habitats. 

On ground level, the centre houses flexible research and learning spaces. The facility welcomes children and adults alike. Windows allow visitors to see into the centre’s labs and honey processing facilities. Glazed walls with oversized doors connect the indoor and outdoor learning spaces. The interior is covered with 500 x 370-mm cells, whose size derives from the wood frames used in beekeeping. They serve for display, storage, seating and other functions.

The climate emergency’s impact on honeybee health is a core design consideration. The mass timber structure is sourced from sustainably managed forests, reducing the greenhouse gas impact of the construction. All components of the superstructure—including the columns, roof and walls—are made of wood. Passive design techniques include ground-source heating, natural ventilation, high-performance envelope and mechanical systems, and rain gardens.

An on-site apiary is part of the centre’s research facilities.

At a higher level, the centre’s program and design highlight the similarities between humans and honey bees. Honey bees are social and collaborative, they work and are productive, and their well-being is closely tied to the land—just like humans.

Jury Comments

Rami Bebawi :: As big as the building is, I find the architecture to be quite humble. It gives room to the rest. It’s quite surprising since it has a gigantic circular tower and a huge base, but it’s not overwhelming. I also greatly appreciate how the story of the bee is reinterpreted throughout the architecture, both as a didactic tool and as a unifying concept.

Joe Lobko :: Exquisite, vibrant spaces and gardens—finally, a celebration of the honey bee in built form! A great marriage of landscape and building that becomes a magical extension of this part of the Guelph campus. The central space is going to be a beautiful, textured room.

Cindy Wilson :: The angles and topography of the roof are inviting, making the building completely accessible. Programmatically, the exhibit space and landscape are so intertwined that the landscape becomes building. In addition to the connection between research and formal gardens, the discovery path feels like the flightpath of a bee, allowing education, discovery and imagination to co-exist.

 

Credits

CLIENT Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph | STRUCTURAL Moses Structural Engineers | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL/AV/IT/SUSTAINABILITY Integral Group | CIVIL WalterFedy | LANDSCAPE Forrec Ltd. Landscape Architecture Studio | CODE LMDG Buildling Code Consultants | ENVELOPE Morrison Hershfield | EXHIBITION/DISCOVERY LORD Cultural Services | AREA 19,200 FT2 | BUDGET Withheld | STATUS Schematic Design | ANTICIPATED COMPLETION April 2020

PROJECTED ENERGY USE INTENSITY (EUI) 76 kWh/m2/year

PROJECTED THERMAL ENERGY DEMAND INTENSITY (TEDI) 45 kWh/m2/year

PROJECTED GREEN HOUSE GAS EMISSIONS (GHGI) 4 kgCO2e/m2/year

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