Architecture/landscape project pair, with Evie Boyce (MLA2). 

Our thesis “BEE RESILIENT” explores the ways in which the Animal Aided Design methodology can be adapted to support the entanglement of wild bees as essential pollinators and humans to enhance resilience in Stockport. We selected the White-Tailed Bumblebee as the umbrella species for wild bees facing challenges including habitat fragmentation, pesticide use and climate change.

We selected Weir Mill, Stockport to focus on the design and reuse of the buildings and landscape on the site, to create an innovation lab, community engagement building, café greenhouse, co-housing, and public gardens. Key design considerations included creating a mosaic of habitats, reduced human disturbance for nesting opportunities, building permeability, microplastics processing, and the design of distinctive detailed nesting elements. Our design benefits wild bees and human users as equals, allowing different types of human-nature interactions across the site and the wider bee network.

The microplastics innovation lab develops new technology to allow the filtration of microplastics from the air and water around the building and larger scale solutions to have a wider impact. A series of laboratories monitor and filter microplastics, provide production spaces, and enzyme labs to remove microplastics locally. These connect through collaboration spaces for internal and public meetings. This promotion of responsibility for the natural environment links into the community engagement building to educate and build community.

The design centres around the circulation core which consists of giant pods providing space for wild bee nesting, circulation, foraging, human experience, and microplastic filter testing. The mill also provides space for ground nesting and multiple foraging opportunities through green walls, roofs and balcony planters.

In addition to supporting biodiversity, we aim to enhance climate resilience through our sensitive design approaches, including creating a carbon-positive design outcome across the buildings and landscape.