P1 An Apiary in a Nave
Originally tasked with designing an apiary in Sheffield General Cemetery, it became apparent that more could be done to combat the decline of the honey bee population.
My research into the subject suggested that the traditional method of bee-keeping actually served to harm the bees. Honey bees naturally swarm, and this helps them to develop resistance to sickness and parasites. Swarms are particularly docile, but a frightening sight to most people. As humans seem to mainly wish to collect honey, the vast majority of bee-keepers do not allow their bees to swarm, and it appears this is adding to the decline of the population.
Therefore, my building is not there to collect honey. It will serve as a place for scientists to study bees in a ‘natural’ habitat. The bees will arrive naturally, or be collected from houses that have been chosen by a swarm of bees.
The hope is that by studying their be(e)havior* we can find out more about how to prevent the decline of such an important group of species. It is also hoped that swarming can become more accepted by our society and bees are allowed to do what comes naturally to them.
P2 A Theatre for a Community
How does one regenerate an area with a theatre?
Tasked with this as a challenge, I became skeptical. Why should a top-down cultural establishment be allowed to alter – dramatically in some instances – the community it has arrived in?
Take Attercliffe. A still-sort-of-industrial area to the north east of Sheffield city centre that has become home to sex shops the odd bit of prostitution. Doors left discreetly ajar at night. Why should it be changed? Even if it is made to be changed, nefarious activities will locate somewhere else.
But maybe change can be positive and not dictatorial.
The theatre then, takes on the role of merely ‘capturing space’, the ground floor an extension of the area. The plays will go out and about in Attercliffe, seeking out nooks and crannies for performances.
It is hoped that this will lead to a deeper, more intricate, understanding of the area, leading to greater appreciation of what makes Attercliffe unique. Then, perhaps, an area can be ‘improved’ whilst still retaining much of its character.