BEE HOUSE / LAB: International Design Competition

Submission: April 20, 2016
Registration: March 30, 2016
Language: English
Location: Concept
Prizes:  There will be no CASH AWARDS
Type: Open


BEE / HOUSE / LAB, is an international design competition open to students and designers in the field of environmental design, architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, and other related fields. The competition calls for a design of a bee house prototype that can be fabricated and deployed for field testing. Up to ten designs selected by the Design Jury will be fabricated (30 prototypes per design) and deployed (300 houses), to study their space-form-habitat performances.
The competition is hosted by the Office of Sustainability, and supported by the FABLAB at the Faculty of Architecture, the Department of Entomology and Parks Canada campus club, at the University of Manitoba. The University of Manitoba is committed to sustainable development and to using campus as a living lab. The university campus will be the primary deployment ground for the prototypes, and the results and the process of the competition will be published on various forms of media for the ongoing BEE LAB research and for the public awareness campaign purposes.


Pollinator communities, including solitary nesting bees, are under pressure from habitat loss from urban development and landscape management practices including pesticide use. Pollinators play a critical role in the health of ecosystems. Small changes to human practices and mindfulness about habitat preservation can have a significant positive impact on pollinators.

Digital fabrication enables designers to engage the living research on bee habitat at the crossroads of environment science, engineering, computation, material science, and biology. Through digital design-modelling and prototype-fabrication, Digital Design and Fabrication can contribute to the living research focused on the space-form-habitat relationship at its micro scale.


The competition calls for a BEE HOUSE PROTOTYPE that explores the space-form-habitat relationship of urban/campus bee habitat. The challenge of the competition is 1) to explore space-form-habitat relationship based on the design parameters for common native bee species [see below], 2) to design a BEE HOUSE PROTOTYPE, and 3) to design its fabrication (digital fabrication) methods and deployment scenario(s).

Design Parameters

Overall size: Total volume of design no more than 8000 cm3 (approx. 20 cm cubic dimension)
 Mounting and cowl: Supported on one or two 2×2 wooden stakes that are 70-100cm in height. A cowl can be integrated into the design or a generic cowl can be part of the mount. Cowlings must allow air circulation (5 cm) above house and protrude 5cm from front face of house for shading. Cowl may cover sides of house (necessity/extent dependent on design of house)
 Number of bee holes: 80-100 for each house
 Size of bee holes: Finished dimensions (allowing for swelling of material, if applicable) should be a mix of 3, 5, 7 and 9 mm diameter to accommodate a range of native species (about 10 different kinds of bees). Holes should be 10 cm deep and closed on the back. Should be level (i.e. parallel to the ground)
 Spacing of bee holes: Minimum of 3 mm between holes. No voids for ingress of parasites between bee holes (e.g. stacks of straws not acceptable, as space between tubes allows parasites).
 Form: House needs to be able to be able to be opened for cleaning/inspection (typically accomplished with a sandwich-type construction). Disassembly/reassembly must be able to be completed using basic hand tools (e.g. screwdrivers, pliers) and not degrade the house for future reuse
 Materials: Opaque wood (preferred by bees)(not cedar) or plastic or polystyrene
 Finish: Weather-durable exterior, such as latex paint, stain, varnish, urethane. Natural finish (unfinished) may be acceptable for plastics. UV stable.
 Colour: Bees prefer houses that mimic colours/patterns of flowers – vibrant colours (but not red as bees cannot see red) and broken patterns are ideal


 Announcement: March 1st, 2016
 Q & A: March 1st – March 24th, 2016
 Registration: March 31st, 2016 [Midnight, CST]
 Submission April 20th, 2016 [Midnight, CST]
 Results: April 25th, 2016
 Prototype production: April 25th – May 15th, 2016
 Deployment: May 15th – May 30th, 2016



Open to professionals, practitioners, researchers and academics in relevant fields (i.e.: environmental design, architecture, landscape architecture, and industrial design).
 Team or individual
 Interdisciplinary team is not a requirement but encouraged


Full-time students registered at a post-secondary (or equivalent) education programs in relevant fields of design (i.e.: environmental design, architecture, landscape architecture, and industrial design).
 Individual or team (no limit in number)
 Interdisciplinary team is not a requirement but encouraged


All entries MUST register through the competition website:
http://www.umanitoba.ca/sustainability/BeeHouseLab.html Registration Fee (not refundable):
– Student $15.00 CAD
– Open $50.00 CAD


All submissions are to be emailed to [beehouselab@umanitoba.ca]
The Registration ID MUST appear in the Subject Heading of the submission email
Two separate PDF files (Design Document and Project Document) are to be attached to the submission email
Total size of the attachments should NOT exceed 10 MB

Submission Requirements
Design Document
Registration number/ID MUST be graphically integrated on bottom right corner(s) of the board(s)
The document may NOT contain any other forms of identification
A single PDF file with up to FOUR 11” x 17” (279mm x 432mm) sheets in ‘landscape’ format pages can be used for the Design Document
Graphic illustrations of the proposal, including critical dimensions, material(s), and the fabrication and installation scenario(s)

Project Document
Registration number/ID MUST appear at the top left corner of the document
The document MUST NOT contain any other forms of identification
Project description (max. 300 words)
A single PDF file with ONE 8.5” x 11” (or 215.9 mm x 279.4 mm) sheet in portrait orientation

Go to the competition’s website