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.
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.
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.
Make sure to check out the full page of entries and keep an eye out for the winner.
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
Kelly has a certificate from the University of Washington in non-fiction writing. She continually takes classes and attends talks on various natural history topics. In 2009 she earned a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon.
She's also an avid photographer focusing on the natural world.