Apidaetopia: the Coevolution between the Born and the Made

The project is an attempt to create a non-anthropocentric urbanism by utilising architecture as a solution to a contemporary biological epidemic: the vanishing of the bees. Whilst science and technology has been the villain responsible for the massacre of biodiversity, it is the manifestation of coevolution between the born and the made through architecture that will pull humanity through our current bottleneck.

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Honeybees are a keystone species in the biosphere, responsible for the pollination of over 80 per cent of all flowering plant species.[1] Agriculturally, they are responsible for the pollination of over three quarters of the world’s crops and economically, they are responsible for the production of over US$220 billion worth of GDP annually across the globe.[2] Industrially, over 8000 tonnes of beeswax are consumed per year with over 120 different industrial uses in drugs.[3] It is due to the importance of the goods and services provided by the honeybees upon our economy, that the recent disappearance of entire populations of bees across the globe has caused the attention of governments and organisations in search for an explanation and possible solutions.

This is an epidemic. In 2008, over a third of bee population in the UK were lost while other European nations and America lost almost half of its bees.[4]Scientists still do not the exact cause of the decline though numerous hypotheses have been proposed with “Colony Collapse Disorder” being the dominant suggested cause for the loss. Throughout the research for the project, the author proposes that the more likely cause of the disappearance of bees is not any singular cause, but a combination of the internal and external stressors that are placed on the honeybees in an attempt to mechanise and over intensify their services. Economic incentives are the driving motivation for biological exploitations.

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As the rural farms of today turns into the graveyards of pollinators, the urban, ironically, becomes the bee sanctuaries instead. The small pockets of greenery may not support large mammals, they provide a rich diversity of food resources for insects. Urban beekeeping has already become a trend in cities such as New York and Hong Kong; however, due to the increase in popularity with an unequal increase in amount of greenery, there is already a growing pressure upon the hives due to a lack of flowers in bloom during autumn.

Apidaetopia is the solution proposed. Taking into account current problems facing both commercial and urban beekeeping, the project is the creation of an urban bee resort, created explicitly for the honeybees to rehabilitate through their “holiday season”.[5]The architecture is the scaffold that bridges the gap between the urban environment and the bees, filtering and altering the urban conditions in order to create a sanctuary for the bees, whilst in return, the bees provide the pollination services that are fundamental to the continued operation of the city. Whilst the traditional role of the architect has been the design engineering of the planet for human settlement, this thesis proposes to design engineer the human settlement for the rest of earth.

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[1]Rosalind R. James and Theresa L. Pitts-Singer, Bee pollination in agricultural ecosystems  (Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2008). 145.

[2]Alison Benjamin and Brian McCallum, A world without bees  (London: Guardian, 2008). 251.

[3]Ibid., 249.

[4]Debora MacKenzie, “Honeybees under attack on all fronts,” New Scientist 201, no. 2695 (2009): 10.

[5]Holiday season refers to the period in the year that the honeybees are not required to pollinate any crops in the farms.

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Petabolism: Billboard House

‘The irony is that where architecture was first enlisted to convey certainty, it is now enlisted to accommodate
change and to be the vehicle through which change is both performed and expressed.’ 1-Rem Koolhaas

1 Rem Koolhaas, ‘Spot Check: A Conversation between Rem Koolhaas and Sarah Whiting’. Assemblage 40, December 1999, p. 41

The history of urban development shows that the development
process of cities is in a constant cycle between posotive and negative
growth.2 Statistics New Zealand projects Auckland’s population to
rise from 1.4 million in 2006 to 1.93 million in 2031, requiring an
additional 260 000 homes to accommodate the change.3 Pressure
from growth due to both natural growth and migration will affect
the existing urban ecologies, placing great pressure upon the city’s
infrastructure and networks.
To present a vision for the future will require a discussion of spatial
questions in regards to the limited available land for growth, the
direction of growth, and increase in demand for transportation
facilities. However, parallel to the growth management is also the
need for the awareness of the possible shrinkage of cities, requiring
a flexible system which can accommodate fluctuations in rise and

Void metabolism is a strategy presented by Atelier Bow Wow dealing
with local gap spaces between buildings. As generational changes
occur accompanying subdivisions and additions of dwellings,
variations and inconsistency occurs throughout the street. In order
for each individual house to retain their autonomy whilst also
contributing to a unified urban landscape, the principles of void
metabolism places focus upon the void spaces developed during
regenerations, allowing the void to create coherency.7
The gap space is treated as materiality, assigning it form and nature
by structuring the void as a rela􀆟 onship between site and building.
Four principles were proposed by Atelier Bow Wow in designing the
next generational house:
1. Interior space be inviting for those who are not members of
the family
2. Quasi exterior spaces be introduced in positive manner
3. Coaxing inhabitants out of their homes
4. Gap spaces between neighbouring buildings be redefined8
Koolhaas also presents a similar approach in Strategy of the Void II
in which the building is first conceived as a solid block of information
with the public spaces defined as absences of the building. Alluding
to the drawing method of Poche, the voids are carved out from the
mass, defined by the solid marks of the surroundings.9
By theorising the mutual dependency of the individual buildings and
voids in this way, a connection is created between the architectural
forms and urban morphologies, thus, blurring the boundaries
between individual houses and its surrounding context.

The detached dwelling is no longer considered in isolation, but in a relationship with its environment through a network of voids.

7 Atelier Bow Wow, The Architecture of Atelier Bow-Wow: Behaviorology
(New York: Rizzoli, 2010), 13.
8 Atelier Bow Wow, The Architecture of Atelier Bow-Wow: Behaviorology
(New York: Rizzoli, 2010), 14.
9 Rem Koolhaas, Content: AMOMA Rem Koolhaas (Kol’ln: Taschen, 2004),

Ptabolism_Site Analysis Petabolism_Structural Details Petabolism_Plan and Section

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Confucius Institute

Confucius Institute_Site Analysis Confucius Institute_Programme Circulation2012_portfolio jpegs25Confucius Institute_Structural Composition

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Source from: http://www.buzznet.com/tags/moth/photos/inside-cecropia-moth-cocoon/?id=58126091

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Jewellery Design Studio

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Contemporary Technological Museum


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Urban Node

This project is response to the inevitale urban sprawl problem, the notion of concentration and de-concentration was proposed. With the CBD ever increasing in pressure and density, a buffer is needed to de-concentrate the concentration by creating another nodal point.

The nodal point will draw the commercial, traffic, social pressure away from the CBD and unto itself, creating another point of concentration while relieving the CBD. The increased flow of activities will enhance the economy and development of the area. Once the node reaches its maximum capacity, another nodal point is created, forming a series of nodes within the region, all interlocked by a system of network.




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