A group of architecture students at the University of Buffalo decided to apply their skills to designing buildings for bees. Their result of their efforts, “Elevator B,” is a 22-ft-tall steel beehive tower clad in hexagonal panels inspired by the natural honeycomb structure of beehives and designed specifically to optimize environmental conditions.
Unlike the expensive high-rise towers in dense cities, these skyscrapers aren’t fully occupied. The bees make their home in a cypress, glass-bottomed box suspended near the top. Of course, human visitors will want to stop by every now and then to check the health of the hive and collect the honey. These visitors can enter the tower through an opening at its base and look up to see the industrious insects at work while beekeepers can tend to the bees and collect their honey by lowering the box like an elevator. If the stacked beeboxes of the modern beehive are efficient public housing projects, this is a high-rise luxury tower. Although it should be mentioned that the bees were forcibly relocated from their colony in the boarded-up window of an abandoned building and may very well have been happier there. But such is progress. Apparently even bees aren’t exempt from eminent domain laws. Perhaps this skyscraper for bees will mark a new trend in honeybee gentrification.