In the picturesque province of Prince Edward Island where agriculture and culinary industries are vital to local economy, raising awareness about the declining population of bees is more important than ever. The Urban Beehive Project was initiated by two architects, Silva Stojak & Shallyn Murray, and uses design as a vehicle to highlight and elevate the importance of bees in sustainability and food security.
The project features demonstrational bee hives that encourage a hands-on-approach to bee education, allowing the public to see how honey is being produced and to learn about pollination and the industry of beekeeping. The hives are housed in Charlottetown’s largest Urban Garden – the PEI Farm Centre – which hosts a range of agriculture and community related activities. This is an ideal setting for a landscape that offers plenty of bee friendly pasture as well as beautiful vistas for visitors who are passing by on the adjacent trail.
The hives are placed in individual sculptural structures which act both functionally – to provide a learning platform for the public – and aesthetically – to act as engaging public art that draws people to the site and creates a destination for bee education. The shape of the hives was inspired by the most recognized bee shape – the hexagon – but was torqued and twisted to give it a playful, creature-like appearance. The public can look inside the two windows (one child height and one adult size window) to see the bees working inside the plexi-glass hive. They can also watch the bees exit and enter the hive at the bee landing pad as they bring the pollen into the working hive. The hives are constructed with wood, a locally available, sustainable material and are secured in place by helical anchors that make minimal impact on the land.
Video by Brett Sanderson of Brett Sanderson Media
John Burhoe, volunteer beekeeper, was instrumental in ensuring proper design of the hives and is responsible for the many demonstrations that happen at the hives during peak season. The hives were constructed and installed by carpenter Brodye Chappell of Brodye Chappell builds.
The project would not have been possible without the support of all of our sponsorship partners and supporters. We would like to send a special thanks to those who really impacted this project and inspired us:
City of Charlottetown – The Inspired City
Hon. Paula Biggar & John MacQuarry
PEI Community Foundation
David Smith – RBC Wealth Management/RBC Dominion Securities
Phil Ferraro – PEI Farm Centre Director
John Burhoe – Beekeeper
Dave MacNearney – Beekeeper
Sheldon Tweel – Structural Engineer @ SCL Engineering
Bruce Smith – Beekeeper
Sean Murray – Beekeeper
Joanne Pineau – PEI WIld Blueberry Growers Association
Beekeeping Association of PEI
Rod O’Connor – O’Connor Glass
Upstreet Brewing Co.
Paula & Richie Shea
Kara and Matt Thompson