In Charlottetown, Canada, a delightful buzz of eco-friendly activity has descended on a new public destination — the Urban Beehive Project, a community installation that highlights the importance of pollinators and their role in a sustainable ecosystem. Local architecture and multidisciplinary firm Nine Yards Studio designed the sculptural community project to not only provide habitat for local bees but also to serve as a platform for hands-on learning and play.
Located at Charlottetown’s largest urban garden, the PEI Farm Center, the Urban Beehive Project draws the eye with its two free-standing geometric structures that house demonstration beehives. Each structure is punctuated with two windows — one at child height and the other for adults — to provide glimpses of the bees working inside the plexiglass hive. Visitors can also watch the bees exit and enter the hive at the bee landing pad; a door provides beekeepers access to the hives. The raised installations are built from timber and secured in place by helical anchors to minimize site impact.
“Plan Bee” of the Urban Beehive Project is a three-tiered, 30-foot-by-15-foot amphitheater also built from a series of wooden 3-foot hexagonal blocks. The honeycomb-inspired hexagon blocks are stacked to create seating for small groups on all sides. At the back of the amphitheater is a series of upright hexagonal elements — some with attached graphic interpretation signage about the bees — that rise up to 9 feet above the platform and are large enough for children to sit in. Grass berms surround the structure to provide an extra play element for children.
“The Urban Beehive Project has created a dynamic and multifunctional apiary destination in Charlottetown,” the architects explained in a statement. “The project has become a play structure, a sculpture, a garden as well as a tool for hands-on learning. More importantly for us, it has become an example of how design can play an important role in our community, our development and our environment.”
Photography by Tamzin Gillis via Nine Yards Studio