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Fall 2012

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Hive City story image Students attach Rigidized® stainless-steel panels to the tower.

Hive City

Huge colony of bees resides in waterfront tower specially designed by UB architecture students

Story by Patricia Donovan

A massive and thriving colony of bees is now living in a specially designed, stainless-steel home located within “Silo City,” a former industrial site near the Buffalo waterfront.

“Elevator B,” as the bees’ home is called, won a design competition organized by the School of Architecture and Planning’s Ecological Practices Research Group. The competition was sponsored by Rigidized Metals Corporation, whose CEO, Rick Smith, owns the site with his colleague Jeff Eder. Members of the winning team are Courtney Creenan, MArch ’12 & and MUP ’12; Scott Selin, MArch ’12; Lisa Stern, MArch ’12; and Kyle Mastalinski and Daniel Nead, who will receive combined MArch and MUP degrees in 2013.

Hive City

The designers say their intention was not only to design a structure to house the bees, as the competition rules called for, but also to offer a way to educate the public about bee work and its contribution to our ecological system.

Elevator B is a 22-foot-tall, free-standing tower made of steel and covered with one-of-a-kind stainless steel panels that were fabricated by RMC:LAB, a division of Rigidized Metals. Its hexagonal shapes were inspired by natural honeycomb. Inside the structure is an innovative “bee cab,” or bee elevator, constructed of cypress and glass, which will actually house the colony and provide it with protection and warmth.

The bee cab typically will be in a raised position so visitors stepping into the tower can look up and watch the colony from below through a glass window. The bees enter the cab through holes near its top, about 10 feet above the ground in its raised position. The cab can be lowered to the ground to permit the beekeeper to attend to the health and safety of the bees.

Elevator B: A new home on Buffalo's waterfront

A massive colony is thriving in an industrial site on Buffalo’s waterfront, thanks to the ingenuity of UB architecture students >watch