The Vulkan Beehive
We love this project by prestigious Oslo-based multidisciplinary studio Snøhetta named The Vulkan Beehive. Set atop the roof of the Mathallen food hall in central Oslo, the honey-colored wooden cabins became home to 160.000 bees this past July, which shows that the little ingenious insects continue to inspire in the creation of great projects. The shape and natural geometry of the honeycomb were key-elements in this project, as the highly inspirational studio created these sculpturesque urban hives in real bee style with a multi-faceted form and hexagonal-patterned façade. Constructed entirely out of a light-colored wood finished with an intentionally honey-reminiscent hue, the hives were designed with an appearance that reflects their purpose of bringing back bees to the city environment of Oslo in an utmost elegant manner.
By creating these beehives, we bring more bees to the city. We want to give visitors information on how they can contribute to the environment, and create involvement around bees.
The Vulkan Beehive by Snøhetta is part of the larger Vulkan project, which started in 2009 as an initiative to revitalize the area located in the Grunerløkka section of Oslo. A previously industrial area on the western bank of the Akerselva River, the project transformed the neighborhood into one concerned more with architectural innovation and environmental sustainability. The area’s metamorphosis made Vulkan the winner of the 2012 State Urban Environment Award.
Known as Oslo’s green lung for its many parks and trails, the Akerselva is an ideal backyard for the new hives offering plenty of buzz-worthy greenspace. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, bees are responsible for the pollination of 71 out of 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food supplies.
Coming at a time when the protection of pollinators is a worldwide concern, the city’s newest residents could not be more welcome. Bees are among the world’s most important food suppliers. One third of the world’s food production is depending on pollination, where bees play the largest role.
In 1989, the newly founded Snøhetta received its first commission to re-invent the great Alexandria Library in Egypt, after winning an international design competition. This was followed a decade later by another competition- winning proposal for the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. In 2004, Snøhetta was commissioned to build the only cultural building on the World Trade center memorial site, and a permanent office was then set up in New York, which are only needles in the haystack of impressive projects created since the foundation. The studio is currently involved with more than 50 projects in Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.
Working global gives each designer valuable cultural and economic insight and creates the foundation of Snøhetta’s continuously evolving professional knowledge base. The studio practices a self-defined trans-disciplinary process in which different professionals, from architects to visual artists, philosophers to sociologists, exchange roles in order to explore differing perspectives without the prejudice of convention. Through transpositioning Snøhetta promotes the positive benefits of moving out of one’s comfort zone, defying narrow0minded thinking and encouraging a holistic approach in all its tremendous projects.
Photography by Snøhetta.
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