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.
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! 🙂 🙂 🙂
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!
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!