Work title: Unfolding Hive: A Hanging Apiary for Philadelphia (0000701600)
Decades of infrastructure buildout in the US has produced a series of threshold spaces: under freeways and elevated rail, along at-grade railways, atop buildings, etc. Unusable and undesirable in their own right due to issues of access, lighting, and dirt, these spaces are nevertheless a significant proportion of the available open space in today''s overcrowded and overdeveloped cities. Unfolding Hive proposes the colonization of one such space, the underpass of the Girard Avenue bridge along Philadelphia''s Schuylkill River, for the simultaneous purposes of education and food production.
A bustling apiary pavilion with space for habitat, honey production, retail, and instruction unfolds underneath the bridge where it passes over a pedestrian path along the Schuylkill. Wrapped in a skin made of glass plates that unfold to suit conditions of place and program--whether unfolding to provide an access ramp or folding to provide additional shelter from the elements, the pavilion''s exoskeleton is suspended from lightweight metal plates that form the apiary''s circulatory spine. These plates, in addition to structuring the modularity of the glass plates, form a rhythmic pattern of bays beneath the apiary. These bays house the beehives, making them visible to vehicles and pedestrians traveling underneath the building.
The project addresses Philadelphia’s need for spectacular yet productive spaces. Part folly, part food generator, and part urban classroom, the apiary plays an active role in the community and provides much needed shelter and recreational space in a disadvantaged, blighted neighborhood. The site takes advantage of spectacular views of downtown Philadelphia and proximity to the Schuylkill River—one of the few well-used and ecologically-driven open spaces in the city. By siting the apiary in an underutilized yet structurally sound threshold space, multi-modal traffic in the form of pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars both above and below the path are allowed to continue undisturbed and enlightened by views of a dynamic, unique urban form.