Mizzi Studio, in partnership with the London Science Museum, have installed an organic, hive-like structure hailed ‘Home away from Hive’ in the centre of London’s arts and science district, supporting the post pandemic recovery of the area and promoting biodiversity. The open call invited design proposals that would demonstrate how plants, green space and biodiversity could be creatively embedded into Exhibition Road’s public realm, reclaiming space for nature amidst the bustle of the capital and encourage visitors to South Kensington, London.
The largest form of the structure is 5m high and 11m long, and has a central chapel-like atrium filled with hanging baskets. Inside the structure, plants and dappled daylight pour in to provide beautiful spaces of respite and care for insects as well as joy for visitors.
With sustainable construction at the forefront of the design process, the structure, built by Firecracker Works, is a jigsaw of half-lapped CNC panels of spruce plywood from sustainably managed forests. These were cut from 8’ x 4’ panels to maximise material usage and minimise wastage.
The installation was prefabricated in 20 parts, which were transported to site and bolted together within a day. The strength of the lattice structure allowed the team to build almost exclusively from timber, with stainless steel cables used sparingly for extra support.
For minimal impact on the site, load modelling dictated that a structural weight of 3.2 tonnes was sufficient to avoid floor fixings. The project is part of Mizzi studios ongoing developmental push towards carbon neutrality across their projects with the aim to educate and inspire others to do the same.
“We saw this project as an opportunity to highlight the importance of respecting the planet’s ecosystem. Bees are heroic protagonists in our natural world, essential to the way humans and other living creatures are sustained. They are a vital part of our ecosystem and their role in that system is being threatened. Dedicating this installation to bringing bees and other pollinators back into our urban environment felt like a significant and urgent reason to participate in this competition. Home away from Hive therefore contributes to a wider discussion on urban re-wilding – allowing nature and wildlife to reclaim a rightful place within our built environment.”
South Kensington, London
Sustainably Managed Spruce Ply
Design, Competition Bid
London Festival of Architecture, Exhibition Road Cultural Group
The London Science Museum
Climate change is the most urgent threat facing humanity. In the Year of the COP26, the Science Museum is committed to engaging the public with the science of climate change and importance of enhancing biodiversity. As such, we are thrilled to host Home away from Hive by Mizzi studio planted with beautiful plants with medicinal properties – aimed at inspiring our visitors around the importance of wildflower habitat for our wild pollinators and igniting their curiosity to visit Medicine.