The Final Stretch and What’s Next

This last week was our final week working on the bee nursery. With the dry fit finally complete it was time to take the structure to the real site and it’s new home at UNCA. On Monday we disassembled the dry fit and transported it to the site. With UNCA’s help we were able to dig a level surface and start constructing the nursery. It was an exciting moment for everyone! Tuesday was spent wrapping up construction by attaching the roof and finally anchoring down the structure. Construction went smoothly and all that was left was to add the bee habitats and furniture pieces.

On Wednesday the structure was up and it was time to finish our furniture pieces and start working on bee habitats. Using the bamboo we cut down from last week we made habitats for the bees. By bundling up the bamboo it fit nicely inside cardboard tubes and coffee cans. At the end of the day we were treated to a visit at Biltmore Gardens. A beautiful, peaceful place to go after all the hard work everyone has put into the project.

Thursday was the big reveal and ribbon cutting ceremony. With everything finished it was time to relax and enjoy the final product. The turnout was terrific and we were excited to see everyone who helped with the project together in one place. We all had an amazing time with Asheville Design Build Studio and can only imagine what’s in store for next summer’s students. To everyone that helped us with this project we thank you and wish you all the best! – Sincerely Asheville Design Build Team



The Light at the End of the Tunnel

After a solid week of work last week, Studio B eyed its goal for a dry fit Wednesday. The early part of the week was spent put the finishing touches on different components of the bee nursery. A variety of tasks needed to be completed before our dry fit, including priming and painting the steel plates and columns not yet painted, spraying nuts and bolts with a protective zinc coating to increase durability, and coating each of the bee habitats with a coat of polyurethane also to increase durability and deter water from entering the wood and damaging it. Although each provided for long and tedious processes, each will help to make the project be more aesthetically pleasing as well as increase the lifespan of the project.

While waiting for a few items to be delivered, each member of the studio began working on furniture pieces to be installed on site away from the main bee nursery to encourage people to interact with and occupy the whole site longer. Each student employed their own ideas into each piece and will be completed next week.


Without further ado, Wednesday saw the erection of the structure we have all worked on tirelessly over the last month and a half. We began by attaching the pre-assembled 8′ beams to their shorter counterparts with steel straps and plates then attached the top and bottom beams to the steel columns. Although it was not perfect and some adjustment will be made before final installation, we had finally seen a glimpse of the manifestation of many hours at work.


Thursday was spent continuing to work towards finishing our furniture pieces. The group worked hard this week to complete the tasks at hand but also found time for a trip to a local architect’s office on Monday, a conversation with several other area architects and a trip to a farm near Hendersonville to collect bamboo for bee habitats on Wednesday. Next week will surely be one filled with hard work to install the project and shared joy over the completion of the project on UNC Asheville’s campus.

Welding, Painting, and Prepping

This week officially kicks off the build aspect of our studio! Our steel and lumber arrived to AB Tech, allowing us to start fabricating the main structure.

At the start of the week, two of our students used Clemson University’s Digital Design Shop to plasma cut our metal connections, which saved TONS of time down the road.


Everyone had a chance to try their hand at welding in the metal shop, where a local designer/welder assisted us in creating the legs for the bee nursery. From there, the metal was cleaned, primed, and painted with the UNC Asheville Blue: the darker color really sits back on the structure, allowing our fabricated bee boxes to really stand out – plus they’ve already attracted visitors!

Additionally, the lumber was cut in the shop, and drilled where the bolts would be set. We also had to rout the ends of the lumber so the welded plates would fit better, which we found out as we did a dry run.

This has been our most construction-intensive week yet and it’s only going to get better from here! Stay tuned for more updates about Studio B! We can’t wait to share the final product with y’all.


Updates, mock-ups, and lending a hand

In week 4, we started off by presenting the project’s updates to faculty and students from UNC Asheville at their campus. Many changes for the project occurred during the weekend such as updating the educational information that we discovered from last week’s “Bee Con” as well as design strategies that best respond to the needs of a proper bee nursery for the site. The feedback from UNC Asheville was great and we are all excited about the progress that has been made.

Back at the wood shop, we started to fabricate full scale mock ups to help us visualize the scale of the bee nursery. Everyone is assigned to fabricate specific parts of the main structure to help speed up the process. We are labeling members of the structure, drilling holes for the bolted connections, and assembling all of the pieces.

After evaluating the mock-up model, we adjust a few components to make the proportions of the project feel just right. Liz treats us with coffee and donuts to help us focus and stay awake! Boston creme donuts are the best!!!

We also took time this week to help out the ADC with the maintenance of a past project. This opportunity is a great way to establish a relationship with the community of Asheville and show our passion for not only designing awesome projects but to also show that we care about every project after their completion. The project we helped with is an outdoor learning garden located on Burton Street.

Bee Experts + Project Visualization

Tuesday’s Pollination Celebration (Bee Con) at the NC Arboretum has been our largest community engagement activity to date: After attending a highly educational lecture about pollinators and what to plant for them, Studio-B set up in the lobby and we presented our research, schematic design, and overall goals for this project.

Local bee-experts, landscape architects, and community members provided us with valuable feedback on material usage and form that we have now adapted into our design. Overall, the event was very informative for us and our project, and we got to enjoy some delicious and healthy snacks provided by local gardeners. 🙂

Throughout the week, we’ve been acquiring both found and store bought materials to begin creating some small mock-ups of our design. Below, you can view how we plan to frame certain areas on the site to highlight the beautiful gardens UNCA displays at the entrance to their campus. We’ve even begun marking the site where we plan to build the main structure. The paint might not be there now, but the exercise opened our eyes to the reality of the project and the importance of how an object this large sits on the site. IMG_3143

Week 3 came to a close with a  very productive weekend that began to iron out our construction drawings which put us back on track and in the clear for when we finally start construction after the Fourth of July. GO AMERICA! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Schematic Design Process Moves Along

To start of the week, we invited several local architects, board members from ADC, and bee specialists to review our initial design strategies for the bee nursery. Overall, we received great feedback which helped us to look at this project at a scale beyond the campus of UNC Asheville, to allow the design to influence visitors of the nursery but the community as well.



With feedback from Monday taken into consideration, we each improved our design strategies over the next few days into a single schematic designs we each presented to our clients at UNC Asheville.



After meeting at UNC Asheville on Thursday, we had a better idea of what their expectations are for the bee nursery: making sure there is an emphasis on the educational aspect of the program in order to inform the public about the importance of pollinators and a design that has a sense of belonging in the site. They were also excited about several ideas that were presented such as a green roof system, a “make your own bee nursery” station, and satellite pods dispersed throughout the site.

Friday we were back to the drawing board to refine the design. We combined our ideas and UNCA’s requests to develop an iconic bee nursery. It’s a rigorous design process but it will be worth it in the end!


2016 Design Build Studio: UNC Asheville Bee Hotel takes flight


This summer, we will be working with the University of North Carolina-Asheville to build a “bee hotel” near an established pollinator garden on campus. With bee populations declining, there has been a call for the building of bee hotels, man-made contraptions that act as a resting place and nursery for solitary pollinators. While they may not produce honey, these pollinators still play a vital role in the growth of fruits and vegetables, plants and flowers.

students enjoying fresh picked berries and learning about natural elements that create pollinator habitat.


We will be working with UNC-Asheville’s Office of Sustainability, as well as their Biology Department to design and build a structure that will serve as a model for bee-friendly communities around the country.

The summer is underway as everyone has arrived in Asheville and has settled into our first week of exploration.  The site is located at a main entrance to UNC Asheville which provides visibility from several angles from both the street and by casual walkers coming to campus.

UNC Asheville has been working on an initiative to reduce pesticides throughout their campus by planting mainly native species with in their pollinator gardens, attracting dozens of local pollinator species to their oasis.  You can hear the “buzz” from our winged friends as you walk by and many of the gardens contain edibles such as berries and herbs.

This project will be exploring the idea of using found materials as well as natural materials such as logs and grasses to create a rich pallet for visual interest and habitat.  After visiting the site and viewing some of the available materials, we headed off to ABTech’s shop and dove into an intro to tools, exploring the basics of “Bee Hotel” construction.  We are looking forward to a rad summer filled with building, fun and meeting new folks around town.  If you are in the area, come check it out and jump in on the fun!