Bees are among the world’s most important food suppliers. One third of the world’s food production depends on pollination, an activity in which bees play the largest role.
The Vulkan Beehive at Mathallen in Oslo is an architectural project by the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta. The idea behind creating these urban beehives was to bring more bees to the city. The two beehives have been appropriately placed on the rooftop of Mathallen Food Hall – Oslo's gourmet epicenter in the city’s new creative territory, Vulkan. The hall, located in a former factory building, is home to more than 25 independent local producers and restaurants. Being a favorite of locals, in the middle of the day the eating hall itself is reminiscent of a beehive; in addition, naturally and contextually there are many green spaces in the area, such as Akserselva and Kolonihagen Grünerløkka.
As one of the lead architects, Peter Girgis from Snøhetta, explained to us – there has been a big interest in urban beehives in and around Oslo. The beekeeper who was approached by the project creators on the matter was Alexander Du Rietz. He already has several areas where he has placed conventional beehives himself, but the Vulkan Beehive is the first newly designed one.
The natural geometry of the honeycomb served as Snøhetta’s inspiration for the form and pattern of the Vulkan Beenhive: shaped like two hexagonal towers, the hives were customized in height and width to fit the needs of the beekeeper. The use of light-colored wood with a finish that is honey in tone was a contextual feature that the architects integrated into the design. Peter Girgis also revealed to us a secret, unseen part of the design – there is a computer within the hive that indicates the weight of the produced honey, the temperature inside the hive, and the amount of rainfall that has been received.