Bee++ project explored a dialogue between natural bees and cyber bees, based on the principle of swarm intelligence.
The project is intended to explore how digital and biologically inspired fabrication techniques can be combined to produce architectural structures.
Honeybees are the main element of this project. They are insects inhabiting in a colony. The colony exhibits characteristics of a mammal by collaborating together through collective intelligence. Bees collectively act as one body and show an analogous behaviour to that of a single mammal.
After studying and decoding the bee behaviour, we are now exploring a possible dialogue between natural bees and cyber-bees, based on the principle of swarm intelligence and algorithms, such as ABC and KLS, that can describe different aspects of the colony behaviour.
Our team programmed a xy plotter to simulate the way honey bees deposit wax while building their hive. We created a composite material by depositing wax onto jute fiber, to increase the stability of the emerging structures. The texture and the pattern of the wax deposition are generated by the algorithm describing the construction behaviour of bees. Our project aims at exploring ways of overcoming the existing limitations of additive manufacturing at architectural scale.
The architectural and scientific community is now looking at natural ways of 3D printing, for example deploying silkworms or specific type of cyanobacteria over existing substratum and how this could help us to develop ways of "printing" architectural structures that are more resilient than current 3D printing technologies. Similarly we are exploring construction behaviour of the bees in creating additive morphologies.
It is argued that Urban Public Spaces currently lack interaction with natural phenomena and process. The project perceives that these structures, as ‘additive space enhancers’, are not only visual enhancers but also serve as enhancers to all senses. The sense of touch by the texture created, the fragrant odour from beeswax, buzzing sound from the bees and taste from the honey. This space is a complete sensorial experience to the public.
Wax is impermeable and the bees use it to make their hive watertight and also for storage of honey making it a ‘space enhancer’. We intend to use the same technique in making human adaptable spaces which act as rain shelters and also serve as rainwater collectors.
The space enhancer will be an object that is evolving with the public and growing gradually by interacting with the mechanics. This in itself will create a whole new perception of the place and would transform it from a static container to an event where people can experience a higher level of sensorial interaction with the processes of production. This project is also intended to raise public awareness about bees, on collective intelligence, machines and material processes.
This project was developed at IAAC by Masters students Burak Paksoy, Michel Alazzi, Nikolaos Argyros, Firas Safieddine, Sameera Chukkapalli