London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

Architecture student Ben Kirk has designed conceptual towers to replace the fast-declining bee population by shooting artificial pollinators into the air.

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

Above: main pollinator release point in Kew Gardens

Located in Kew Gardens, a tower would fire spores covered in pollen-filled latex balloons into the air so the wind could transport them to parks across London.

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

Above: detail of artificial pollinators

City-wide recycling buildings would suck up unused pollen spores and redistribute them via a trumpet-like funnel.

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

Above: satellite pollinator release facility in Victoria Park

Additional off-the-shelf Garden Pollination Devices with acetate tentacles would also available for private gardens.

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

Above: satellite pollinator release facility in Victoria Park

Kirk developed the project while studying at the University of Westminster.

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

Above: garden pollination devices

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London Without Bees: architecture to pollinate a wilting city

What would happen if, as the worst predictions suggest, there were no bees in London? How would flowers be pollinated?

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

Above: detail of garden pollination devices

Here a headquarters in Kew Gardens releases millions of delicate floating inseminators, like artificial spores, across the city. Locally, in places like Victoria Park in Hackney, small repair and collection points work constantly to recycle the proxy bees: architecture to pollinate a wilting city.

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

Above: detail of garden pollination devices

Without the common honeybee, London's gardens would be unrecognisable. We would miss their familiar buzz on a summers day, we would miss their delicious honey. Less obviously, we would miss their pollination, which allows plants to reproduce and flower in such vivid colours.

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

Above: prototypes of artificial pollinators

The honeybee's form is no accident. She is a conspiracy of the pollen bearing plant world, her architecture so specific to the task.

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

Above: prototype of artificial pollinators

In response to the honeybee's extinction, man must conceive a way to pollinate London's parks and gardens, learning from her specficity through biomimicry.

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

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Firstly the 'Garden Pollination Device' fertilises London's back gardens, shimmering like a garden chandelier as the light passes through the statically-charged perspex and acetate covered in pollen. It is designed as a flat pack product available off-the-shelf which the garden enthusiast can assemble themselves. It is suspended from the four corners of the typical London terrace back garden with tension wires, with the device hung in the middle, and predominantly relies on passive wind movement, and the vertical movement of the counter-weighted acetate tentacles, to accidentally brush past the anthers of one garden flower onto anothers stigma.

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

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Following this, a London-Wide Pollination Strategy is conceived, with delicate latex pollination devices projected into the London skies from a headquarters in Kew Gardens, and carried by the prevailing wind to the required destination.

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

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Once the pollination is complete, the proxy bees are recycled at local 'Satellite Pollinator Release Facilities' which strategically proliferate London.

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

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These 'Release Facilities' act both as workshops to recycle and reproduce the latex pollinators, and as a wind harvester, increasing the flow of air through the main funnel. This is achieved via side injection wind inlets and garden wind cowls, in order to project the proxy bees into the skies.

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

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Intentionally prosaic in external appearance, the facility in Victoria Park seamlessly merges into the urban fabric, its simple copper mesh cladding enveloping the workshop. Internally, the facility reveals a magical full height workshop with the spectacle of the 'release' seducing the visitor.

London Without Bees by Ben Kirk

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