The UK really does have some excellent wildlife habitat design competitions. One of the most recent is called Beyond the Hive where designers created luxury hotels for the insects of London. The competition is a joint effort between British Land and The City of London Corporation “to celebrate 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity.” There are five finalists and they will actually be building their designs for public viewing and voting. The designs are aimed at attracting a range of insects including beetles, bees, butterflies, spiders and a variety of others. The designs are very creative and have some entertaining names as well. This is really the kind of design that is so exciting because it’s a step to bridge the gap between ecology, habitat and aesthetics. Good design can be functional and artistic.

Here are a couple of the entries from the competition.

The Bumblebee City Nesters

This design is inspired by the City of London’s prestigious tower buildings, and uses a flexible system that allows it to be adapted to create anything from a two-storey wildlife B&B for smaller spaces, to a complete five star hotel for larger gardens.

At West Smithfield, the team will create a series of five towers, ranging in height from 900mm to 1200mm, made entirely from recycled materials, including recycled timber, recycled broom poles, and garden and building waste.

The Bumblebee City Nesters

Beevarian Antsel and Gretel Chalet

Based on the design of a typical Bavarian mountain chalet, the ‘Beevarian Antsel and Gretel Chalet’ was designed by “German Women in Property” to commemorate their recent excursion to London.

The design features reclaimed bricks to attract solitary bees, rotten logs for invertebrates, louvered boxes filled with bark for hibernating butterflies, a log drilled with holes for ladybirds and eaves filled with bamboo for lacewings.

Beevarian Antsel and Gretel Chalet

The Insect Hotel

The façade of the hotel consists of a series of compartments based on a Voronoi pattern found in the natural world, which generates a series of voids varying in size at a depth of 500m.

A variety of recycled waste materials and deadfall are loosely inserted into these voids, whilst the sides of the hotel are accessible for butterflies and moths, and the top is suitable for absorbing rain water through planting.

The Insect Hotel

Make sure to check out the full page of entries and keep an eye out for the winner.

British Land – Beyond the Hive

There is also some good information in the design brief including descriptions of the target species and how to attract them, descriptions of the locations for the hotels and links to design documents. Here are a couple of good resources noted in the design brief:

How to make a habitat wall – Sussex Wildlife Trust

Building an Invertebrate Habitat – The Wildlife Trusts Cheshire

The Bug Hotel

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  1. The Bumblebee City Nesters reminds me of the proposed bird habitat at Holbeck Urban Village ( I appreciate children interacting with the Insect Hotel.

  2. I absolutely agree Georgia, there is a lot of similarity to the design from the Holbeck Urban Village. I really enjoy how there are different creative approaches to designing habitat like this. Two major ones seem to be adapting human structures, such as houses or high-rises, into wildlife structures while the other is more of an abstract, artistic approach.

    The interaction is an interesting idea because I’m not sure how effective a habitat element can be if it’s accessible to people. Perhaps insects aren’t as impacted by human disturbance as birds or mammals may be, I really don’t know. It’d be an interesting topic to look into though.

  3. check out Urban Birds Offered New Nests in London at urbangardensweb

  4. Dan Martin April 3, 2011 at 4:10 pm · · Reply

    Great idea. I am going to share this idea with as many people as I can. More people need to be aware of the importance of using built environment to facilitate urban habitat for wild life.

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