The Hive Mind

CAUKIN Studio , Par, 2019



Katie Edwards, Joshua Peasley     Download Original

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An observation hive and pavilion, to home a working colony of native dark honey bees

In 2019, The Eden Project became a reserve for the Native Dark Honey Bee, a species under threat from imports of bees from Europe and Asia. CAUKIN Studio were tasked with designing and building an observation hive and pavilion which would be home to a working colony as well as planting and information about the Native Dark honey bee in an effort to raise awareness of the issues they face.

Constructed from reclaimed scaffolding, the pavilion acts as a sculptural beacon, drawing visitors to the site to view the 25,000 bees that live within, a number which will increase to 50,000 by 2020. An international team of 9 architecture students and professionals built the installation over the course of 3 weeks.

In the same way as a bee colony acts as a single organism, each structural column is connected and dependent on the next, to form a strong lattice. This casts a silhouette onto the ground below which references honeycomb produced by bees.

Two timber doors open up to reveal the working hive behind a glass screen that separates visitors from the bees. The hive is supported separately from the rest of the structure, minimising any disturbance to the bees or vibrations from the scaffold. The observation hive itself was designed and built by Christian Brown out of mirrors and acrylic, allowing visitors to see the workings of the hive from every angle.

Carefully chosen native flowers fill the planters on each side. These will grow and die in a cyclical nature, reflecting the lives of the bees and their hive. Built in planters sit alongside benches that provide a space to rest and enjoy the view of the entire Eden Project, surrounded by the buzz of the bees and plants!

Project & Construction Managers: Cassie Li, Harrison Marshall, Joshua Peasley

Project Construction Team: Nur Iman Syafiqah Abdul Nasir, Cecilia Wu, Sarah Delaney, Abi Van Der Linden, Courtney Cooper, Harry Hogan, Anna Simpson, Andreas Kyriakou, Bibiana Malawakula

Eden Project Team: Jo Elworthy, Tom Bennett, Jo Molloy, John Lewin, Lou King, Dave and Nik from Estates


  • Begun: Apr 2019
  • Completed: Apr 2019
  • Floor area: 30m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £8,500
  • Funding: Heritage Lottery Fund, Eden Project, LUC, Charitable Donations to The B4 Project
  • Tender date: Nov 2018
  • Procurement: Design & Build
  • Address: The Eden Project, Bodelva, Par, PL24 2SG, United Kingdom

Professional Team