Bee dwelling finalist for awards

Published June 19, 2014

UB architecture students who designed and built a new home for a colony of bees living in an abandoned Buffalo office building are in the running for a highly regarded architecture prize, and the UB community can help them win.

The students’ project, called Elevator B, is one of five finalists in the Student Design/Build Project category of the Architizer A+ Awards.

From now until March 8, members of the public can vote for Elevator B to receive an Architizer A+ Popular Choice Award at .

The project also is a candidate for an Architizer A+ Jury Award, which is decided by a panel of judges drawn from a pool of luminaries that includes renowned architects, architecture critics from media outlets like The New York Times, and curators and founders of institutions like the Museum of Modern Art and Architecture for Humanity.

The winners of both the Jury and Public Choice awards will be announced on March 19, and a celebration will follow on May 16.

“For Elevator B to have such a successful occupation by the bees is very exciting and the design team is thrilled over the support we have received to date. We hope the city and region will show their support once again and vote for Elevator B,” says design team member Courtney Creenan on behalf of the entire team.

The project was designed and built in 2012 by five master’s students in UB’s School of Architecture and Planning: Creenan, Kyle Mastalinski, Daniel Nead, Scott Selin and Lisa Stern. All have now graduated.

Elevator B is a 22-foot-tall tower comprising hexagonal steel panels that resemble the patterns in a natural honeycomb. Within this tower, the bees live inside a hexagonal “bee cab,” a wooden elevator that keeps them warm and protected. Beekeepers can lower the cab to gain access to the colony, and visitors can observe the animals up close through the cab’s laminated glass bottom.

Elevator B is located in Silo City, an industrial area along the Buffalo River that is home to a cluster of grain elevators.

The project was the winning design in a student competition organized by the School of Architecture and Planning’s Ecological Practices Research Group and sponsored by Rigidized Metals Corporation with the goal of relocating the bees from their former home in a vacant building set to undergo renovation.

Joyce Hwang, an assistant professor of architecture who partnered with fellow architecture faculty members Christopher Romano and Martha Bohm to coordinate the competition and serve as project advisors, says it’s exciting to see the team receive such a notable recognition.