Playing on the form of the bees’ compound eye, Harrison Atelier’s Pollinators Pavilion produces new habitat for solitary bee species. A first pavilion is under construction at Old Mud Creek Farm, part of Abby Rockefeller’s 2,500 acre farm, a model of regenerative organic agriculture in New York’s Hudson Valley.
The project allies architecture (Harrison Atelier); ecological art programing (Francine Hunter McGivern’s Frank Institute @ CR-10); and organic agriculture (Ben Dobson, Old Mud Creek Farm and Hudson Hemp).
The pavilion’s innovative paneling system (fabricated from Ductal ® UHPC) houses hundreds of nesting tubes for solitary bees, as well as a solar-powered electronic monitoring platform, that with the support of Microsoft’s AI for the Earth grant, integrates a machine learning interface to enable automated species identification.
The diverse micro-conditions that designers develop with their pavilion’s novel paneling system provide artificial nesting structures for solitary bees and models environmental stewardship in this Anthropocene age.
The Pollinators Pavilion offers inhabitation for 2,000 solitary bees in a structure of over 300 cast Ductal® concrete panels, fabricated at the firm’s Brooklyn Navy Yard workshop in partnership with Andrew Pinneke and Kelly Henry of Ductal®.
The pointed form of each panel serves as both a rain canopy and a storage space for the solar-powered monitoring platform. Motion sensors at the base of the canopy, when triggered by insect movement, prompt an endoscopic camera to photograph the insect.
The images harvested by each panel feed through microprocessors into to a database for a machine-learning system that seeks to identify the species without trapping and killing the bees. This panel system was awarded third place at the New York City Media Lab Tech Expo of 2018 and at the Pratt Institute Research Open House of 2019. The project was also awarded a two-year “AI for the Earth” grant from Microsoft.