Here’s a message from one of our Senior Lecturers, Kate Christman:
“I have been working on a design project that explores the role of design in promoting Biodiversity in the built environment, specifically through the design of new construction materials.
It has been shortlisted for the Soil Association’s innovation award 2014 and it would be amazing if you can spare the time to help us out… its a massive project with the potential to create real change… its the first time we have ‘gone public’ with it and the response so far has been incredible. To vote takes less than 1 minute… the competition will be featuring in Waitrose next week with further opportunity’s to vote via their free newspaper.
We have designed the ‘Bee Brick’ to provide a nesting site to support the declining solitary bee population. ‘Britain has more than 250 bee species, but numbers have fallen dramatically due to disease, an increase in chemical use and habitat loss (Friends of the Earth 2013).
The bee brick is specifically designed to be an integral part of the build and offers the dual function of being a construction material that also promotes biodiversity. It has been designed to be included in new build projects as a ‘fit and forget’ component, and to sit alongside current green systems such as Solar panels, rainwater harvesting and Sedan roofs.
WHAT IS NEW ABOUT IT
Main stream construction materials primary function is to perform as structural components within the fabric of new buildings. We have taken these materials as starting points, and created habitats for bee’s displaced by the construction process to become hubs for greater biodiversity within new community’s.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Each Bee brick provides 18 cavities for solitary bees to lay their eggs. Each cavity is moulded part way into the brick ensuring bees cannot enter the building. Bees lay their eggs inside the holes and seal the entrance with mud or chewed up vegetation. The off spring emerge the following Spring and begin the cycle again.
OUR VISION Our vision is huge… We understand that to realise this idea we need to harness expertise across disciplines, between industry’s and university’s, bioscientists, architects, planners, developers, designers and manufacturers.
Providing habitats for the next generation of pollinating bee species is vitally important.
The bee brick is our starting point. Adapting and rethinking how we use existing building components that cater for a variety of species makes implementing these goals viable at a scale necessary to see real change… one brick at a time.
Thank you for your support… I will of course keep you posted!”