Model of Battersea Bee Foundation, submitted for an architectural competition to find a new use for, Battersea Power Station. The station would house over 300 hives, a mead facility and a gigantic ground glass prism for refracting light into each hive cluster. 1983. See Battersea Bee Foundation Print
Battersea Bee Foundation: East projections. Model Scale 1:333. 1983. Private Collection.
Battersea Bee Foundation: Ink drawing of Battersea Bee Foundation showing the position of the In Tribute to Madame de Pompadour and the Court of Louis XV in the front left tower. 1983.
Battersea Bee Foundation: Apis Melifera , the species earmarked for the new Bee Foundation’s production workforce.
Battersea Bee Foundation: Chart showing the color coded bee chambers created by the Fool’s paradise, a list of possible pollen gathering sites and a list of mead destinations around London. 1983.
Battersea Bee Foundation: Cut-away drawing of the large Cornish Steam Engine for pumping mead, situated in the south wing of Battersea Bee Foundation. 1983.
Battersea Bee Foundation: The Mead Pump would be based on Gibbs & Dean’s annular compound Cornish engine. 1983.
Battersea Bee Foundation: Pigment print. 53 x 3 inches. Edition of 30. 1983. See prints
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BATTERSEA BEE FOUNDATION (1983)
Designed in 1983 in response to a competition for possible uses of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s original power station, Battersea Bee Foundation was intended to be viewed in the context of another recently completed project, In Tribute to Madame de Pompadour and the Court of Louis XV, 1983–84. Replacing a power station’s generators with centrifugal honey extraction machinery seemed a perfect transformation. The Battersea Bee Foundation proposal stipulated that all south London’s parks and verges be planted with lavender, reinstating Lavender Hill as a true anachronism. A tax allowance would have encouraged people to develop their gardens and to cultivate new species of plants to augment the bees’ diet.
The structure of Battersea Bee Foundation was intended to house an assortment of subsidiary industries and treatment clinics. A library stocked with every book pertinent to apiculture would reside in the two north towers. Research laboratories and education departments would service in-house pharmaceutical and beauty product manufacture. Wax extraction facilities would supply polishes, candles, cosmetics, leather and fabric preservatives, and wax models for dentistry. A restaurant using products taken from the hives would be the food source for the human workers.
An elaborate brewery would manufacture mead from fermented honey. A centrally placed reflecting pool, running parallel to the hive rooms, would circulate water via a giant vascular system, cooling the hives and transferring their heat together with heat generated from the solar roof decking to run a giant steam pump placed at the opposite end of the main hall, facing the Fool’s Paradise. The pump’s sole purpose would be to distribute mead, via a network of supply pipes, to fourteen cultural institutions throughout Greater London, among them: the Houses of Parliament, Battersea Dogs Home, and Atlas Press. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s original power station was reputed to be the largest steel and brick structure in Europe, and with minor modifications its interior would remain undiminished from its original grandeur. Battersea Bee Foundation would be the world’s largest apicultural center in the world and the inhabitants of England the envy of every civilized nation for their clear skin and vigorous health.
The main turbine hall of the station, once clad in Italian marble, would house an enormous ground glass prism, a Fool’s Paradise placed at the north entrance foyer. There, a series of mirror reflectors would channel light into the east wing where it would be refracted into the full color spectrum. Spectrums produced by refraction through prisms were common phenomena during the eighteenth century.
In Battersea Bee Foundation each color refracted from this grand prism would be separated and refracted into fourteen sequentially identical hive rooms. Each chamber would radiate a pure color, which the worker bees, by color association, could identify as their zones of occupancy.