The Honeycomb by BIG/HKS/MDA, Bahamas, Nassau.- more photos in Services / Projects
 
2014-03-25

The Honeycomb by BIG/HKS/MDA, Bahamas, Nassau.- more photos in Services / Projects

Architects often look to the natural world for inspiration. Sometimes this can result in a project that plays with scale of natural phenomenon, such as Beijing's Water Cube, which was based on the shape of water bubbles. Other times it can be a more abstract appropriation, as in the case of Bjarke Ingels's new apartment complex design in the Bahamas, “The Honeycomb." The design of the project did not call on the geometry of the honeycomb for structural integrity. Instead, the hexagon pattern supplied a motif for the facade, adding some visual interest—and character—to the building's typical rectangular form. Each apartment also has an ample balcony that includes a pool, providing the inhabitants with a semi-private outdoor area from which to enjoy the view of the ocean and tropical weather. The Honeycomb will become the tallest structure in Albany, visible from every point of the resort and serve as a beacon from the sea. Surrounded by extraordinary views of the marina and its surrounding community, the residences in the building offer a variety of floor plans that will suit the diverse lifestyles of its tenants. To emphasize the relationship with its surroundings, the building has a full glass façade and is wrapped in balconies, connecting the interiors with the natural beauty of the Island. Since the prime views are towards the south, these balconies are deep enough to not only provide an outdoor space, but also summer kitchens and a pool sunken into the balcony floor of each unit. These unique pools have a transparent edge towards the plaza, eliminating the visual barrier between the pool and the surrounding environment and allow bathers to become fully immersed in the view of the marina and the ocean beyond. The additional weight of the water is supported by a floor-high beam below, while also providing privacy between adjacent apartments. The repetition of this motif creates a hexagonal pattern in the façade, alluding to natural geometries found in certain coral formations or honeycombs. Different unit sizes introduce dynamic irregularities in the pattern that further amplify this notion. The transparent front of the pools that span each balcony unit literally becomes the face of the building. At night they are illuminated, creating lively reflections on the ceilings of the balconies and activate the façade. Bees know something about engineering and design. The hexagonal shape of the honeycomb is the result of millennia of evolutionary selection for the most efficient, least wasteful, and strongest building system. Darwin let us in on the fact that Mother Nature can be a harsh teacher; if you don’t thrive, you don’t survive—resulting in such ingenious habitats as the honeycomb. Here is a collection of projects that incorporate the modular, hexagonal design scheme of bees. OTHER STRUCTURES HIGHLIGHTED Honeycomb Apartments by OFIS architects, Izola, Slovenia The design brief for this government subsidized apartment complex called for 30 low-cost units specifically for young families. The architects incorporated the idea of the honeycomb by making each unit a singular cell of an overall "hive." No structural elements are incorporated inside the apartments, allowing them to be completely customizable. Add To Collection Save this image to a collection Museo Soumaya by FR-EE/Fernando Romero Enterprise, Mexico City, Mexico This sculptural museum was designed to be a "contemporary icon" for the region. The facade comprises hexagonal translucent concrete units, allowing the interior spaces to feel "light and airy." Add To Collection Save this image to a collection K-abeilles Hotel for Bees by atelierd.org, Muttersholtz, France Designed as a "hotel for bees" by AtelierD.org, this project's façade features compartments in the shape of alveoli, those bulbous anatomical structures that form our lungs. Think of the construction as micro-units for honey industry workers. Add To Collection Save this image to a collection Orquideorama (plan:b + jprcr) by Alejandro Bernal, Medellin, Colombia This structural garden was designed to expand naturally as demand dictated. There are 14 total "trees" that can be connected through the wooden mesh. The hexagonal shape of the modules gives the overhead screen the look of a honeycomb. Add To Collection Save this image to a collection Hearst Tower by Foster + Partners, New York City "Hearst Tower’s distinctive facetted silhouette rises dramatically above Joseph Urban’s existing six-story Art Deco building, its main spatial event a vast internal plaza, occupying the entire shell of the historic base," explains Foster. "Designed to consume significantly less energy than a conventional New York office building, it is a model of sustainable office design." Add To Collection Save this image to a collection Centre Pompidou Metz by Shigeru Ban Architects + Dean Maltz Architect, Metz, France The translucent roof of the Centre Pompidou Metz is both structural and symbolic. "To the French, the hexagon is a symbol of their country, as it is similar to the geographical shape of France," says Ban. The equilateral triangles that radiate from the hexagons are inspired by traditional woven bamboo hats and baskets of Asia. Add To Collection Save this image to a collection Laboratory for Infectious Diseases Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands Hexagons can be found throughout the natural world beyond beehives. Microscopes reveal the hexagonal structure of the nucleic molecules that comprise viruses, which was the inspiration for the facade of this facility dedicated to the study of disease. Add To Collection Save this image to a collection Harpa - Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Center by Batteriid Archtects and Henning Larsen Architects, Reykjavik, Iceland Artist Olafur Eliasson was part of the team that designed this concert hall in Iceland. The steel framework of the building is clad in colorful glass panels in the shape of hexagons, and when struck with natural light, the building appears to glitter like a jewel.
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