Alone with Bees
The hive as an architectural object was born out of the relationship between the beekeeper and the bees. Similarly to architecture, the hive connects those living within and around it. Over time, hives have gradually ceased to replicate the form of tree cavities that originally served as the natural habitat of bees, and have increasingly transformed into contraptions serving the comfort of humans. The balance has thus broken: instead of bees, now humans are the determining factor. Due to the stress caused by the changing of the hives, monoculturalism, and toxic pesticides, bees have become more vulnerable to diseases and parasites. As a consequence, they live in complete dependency on humans, as they have no time or energy to solve their own problems. Modern metropolitan life with its constricted living spaces and disconnection from nature gives rise to a similar crisis for humans. The problem of isolation has increased exponentially over the past year.
In their project Alone with Bees, AUW explores how the architectural system of the hive has transformed over the ages, and to what extent it correlates with architecture for humans. We are inclined to regard architecture as the opposite of the natural world, but why is this so and why do we believe that the honeycomb built by bees or the anthill are part of nature while the house built by humans is an entirely different world? The beehive is somewhere in between, as it is a human-built space accommodated by bees, which simultaneously has a very intense relationship with nature—the bees—and with humans—the beekeepers—while there is also a strong connection between the two.
AUW has been making solitary spaces for years (Flower House, 2015; Wool House, 2018).These spaces are not about complete confinement, however: in this case, bees are living constituents of the building, just like the roof or the windows. As the light shining through the window connects humans with the outside world, in this space it is the sound and scent of bees that connect us to the surrounding world. Its shape and perforated screen resemble an enlarged beekeeper’s mask-veil, like the one in Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s drawing The Beekeepers (ca. 1568).
We create a freeform hive in which bees are free to build their honeycomb structures any way they like. To this end we aim to capture a freshly swarmed colony, who will find it easier to adapt to building their honeycombs inside a hive than colonies that are transferred from another hive. The swarming of bees usually begins in early May, but when exactly half the colony will swarm out of the hive led by the old queen greatly depends on the weather. For this reason, we plan to hold the official vernissage of the house of bees on 10 May, when the swarmed and captured colony will already have been deposited in the hive tower on top of the building.
Visitors need to register by writing an email to email@example.com. One hour time slots can be booked every day between 10.00–13.00 and 15.00–18.00, entitling a single person to spend an hour alone in the building. All information regarding the location and appropriate use of the building will be shared with the registrants via email.
Assistant: Anna Zsoldos
Time 14.05 - 06.06