Studiodare’s ‘Bee Project’ has been shortlisted for Forgotten Spaces, 2011.This competition, organised by the RIBA, calls for architects and designers to think up new uses for neglected spaces in the Greater London area.
Our site is a 10m wide easement to a Thames Water ring main in Neasden, in the London Borough of Brent. Triangulated by Neasden, Willesden and Cricklewood, the site runs through the Cricklewood Pumping Station. Originally constructed by the Metropolitan Water Authority, both the pumping station and ring main served an area of London stretching from the Thames to Hampstead.
The proposal itself is a combined urban park, ‘agroforest’ and bee-keeping apiary, which promotes a mutual dependency between the community and eco-system; it is a diversified growing system based on perennial crops, such as fruit bearing trees, plants and herbs. The urban park is achieved by carefully selecting, sculpting and arranging these crops to create vistas and frame views.
It is democratic and open; it can be enjoyed as a park for recreational purposes, an educational facility for school children and the unemployed, an activity for pensioners or a business for community organisations.
Highlighting our dependency on bees and the delicate nature of our ecosystem is central to the main idea. This is celebrated in the design of the beehives, which are constructed on an elevated plinth, providing focal points within the landscaped garden as well as protection against the colony.
Bee Project is designed to be ‘extendable’. Through community engagement, the project offers the potential to create an economic market for the exchange of produce, such as fruits, jams or honey. Produce is exchanged through a ‘farmers’ market and could link to similar other initiatives within neighbouring communities.
Encouraged by our shortlisting, we look forward to developing this proposal in more detail. We are also actively exploring opportunities to introduce the concept to a number of sites across London, taking it to local communities and key stakeholders.