Animal Architecture Awards – Bat Cloud

Animal Architecture Awards 2012, Bat Cloud, News, Design, Winner

Animal Architecture Awards : Design Contest Winners

Bat Cloud Project, Tifft Nature Preserve, Buffalo, New York, USA

26 + 20 Sep 2012

Animal Architecture Awards 2012

Animal Architecture Awards 2012 Winners

1st Place

BAT CLOUD, Joyce Hwang

Bat Cloud is a project bringing awareness and public visibility to bats and their critical role in our ecosystem. Installed in Tifft Nature Preserve, a park-like wooded setting developed on a former landfill in the industrial zone of Buffalo New York, BAT CLOUD is a hanging canopy of vessels that is designed and constructed to support bat habitation. From afar, the piece appears like a shimmering cloud, hovering in the trees. Closer up, viewers from below would be able to see plants hanging from each vessel. At dusk, onlookers can catch sight of bats emerging from the habitation vessels.

Bat Cloud Bat Cloud design BAT CLOUD BAT CLOUD design
images from Joyce Hwang

Joyce Hwang, AIA, is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, and the Director of Ants of the Prairie, an office of architectural practice and research that focuses on confronting contemporary ecological conditions through creative means. Currently she is developing a series of projects that incorporate wildlife habitats into constructed environments. Her most recent work – including “Bat Tower” (completed in 2010) – has been made possible by an Independent Projects Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), as well as a residency at the MacDowell Colony, where she was selected as a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow.

BAT CLOUD BAT CLOUD design
images from Joyce Hwang

Bat Cloud credits:

The production of Bat Cloud was a team effort. Primary collaborators included: Sze Wan Li (design and fabrication) and Mikaila Waters (concept design). Fabrication assistants included: Robert Yoos, Molly Hogle, Duane Warren, and Shawn Lewis. Project consultants included: Mark Bajorek (structures) and Katharina Dittmar (biology).

The installation of Bat Cloud was made possible by eleven (fearless) assistants: Matthieu Bain, Joshua Gardner, Shawn Lewis, Sze Wan Li, Sergio López-Piñeiro, Nellie Niespodzinski, Mark Nowaczyk, Alex Poklinkowski, Joseph Swerdlin, Duane Warren, and Robert Yoos. Additionally, thanks goes to Colleen Culleton and Justin Read of the UB Humanities Institute; and Lauren Makeyenko and David Spiering of Tifft Nature Preserve for facilitating the project’s installation.

2nd Place

GBHNPCB, Camilo Garcia, Diego Barajas and the Plataforma Husos Team

The GBHNPCB (GARDEN BUILDING WITH HOSTS AND NECTAR PLANTS FOR CALI’S BUTTERFLIES) is a house for butterflies and other insects, birds and people. It also houses working spaces for a woman-run design-atelier located in a central area of Cali. More than a functional structure however, The GBHNPCB is a biometer. By stimulating the presence of butterflies from the region through the use of plants that host and produce nectar to feed them, the GBWHNPC can perform as an indicator of the ecosystem’s biodiversity. Butterflies are not only one of the most effective bio indicators (their presence or absence is a sign of the environmental quality and biodiversity of an ecosystem), they are also particularly important in this region which concentrates the largest diversity of butterflies in the world.

3rd Place

HANNAFORE TILE-POOL, Daniel Metcalfe

The Hannafore Tile-Pool subtly and cleverly utilizes already occurring ecological processes to make a simple walkway on the beach safer for humans and tidal species. The result is a tile system that actually traps small pools of water at low tide beneath a walkable and textured surface. The polls are ideal spaces marine species to get in and out and the cover aligns with the level of the walkway and is textured to create additional traction.

Animal Architecture Awards 2012 Winner

BAT CLOUD

Joyce Hwang

BAT CLOUD is a project that aims to bring awareness and greater public visibility to bats as a critical part of our ecosystem. Bats serve as pollinators and ‘natural’ pesticides, assisting in the control of mosquito and other insect populations. Yet despite their ecological significance, bats are often overlooked or seen as pests in urban environments and subsequently exterminated. Further, since 2006, bats in the northeastern part of the United States have been dying in great numbers due to White Nose Syndrome.

Bat Cloud Bat Cloud design BAT CLOUD BAT CLOUD design
images from Joyce Hwang

Installed in Tifft Nature Preserve, a park-like wooded setting developed on a former landfill in the industrial zone of Buffalo New York, BAT CLOUD is a hanging canopy of vessels that is designed and constructed to support bat habitation. From afar, the piece appears like a shimmering cloud, hovering in the trees. Closer up, viewers from below would be able to see plants hanging from each vessel. At dusk, onlookers would hopefully be able to catch sight of bats or other wildlife emerging from the habitation vessels.

BAT CLOUD is an installation that aims to combat the aesthetics of disappearance and indifference. Its disposition is that of an urban ‘spectacle,’ tapping into strategies of publicity. The project is comprised of a hanging canopy of vessels, which from afar appears like a large shimmering cloud, hovering in the trees. Its form appears to change and shift as one moves around it on the adjacent walking path. At dusk, onlookers would hopefully be able to catch sight of bats or other wildlife emerging from within.

Habitation vessels are designed to allow bats to enter by crawling up a ‘landing pad’ into the uppermost cavities, which are insulated with layers of thermal blanketing and foam insulation. The vessels are formed by folded stainless steel mesh, providing ‘footholds’ for the bats to hang and climb. The lower volume of each vessel is filled with soil and vegetation, which would be opportunistically fertilized by bat guano, dropping from the spaces above. Inserted inside the vessels are sensors and data collectors, which will be monitored and analyzed by a collaborating biologist to check on temperature, humidity, and other environmental conditions.

Despite its ‘completion,’ we consider BAT CLOUD not as an end product, but rather as a beginning. It is among the first of a series of projects that propose ways of integrating wildlife habitats into our built environments, to bring visibility to critical ecological conditions that are not yet part of the public’s collective consciousness.

Project credits:

BAT CLOUD by: Ants of the Prairie
Project Director: Joyce Hwang
Project Design and Fabrication Manager: Sze Wan Li
Concept Collaborator: Mikaila Waters
Fabrication Assistants: Robert Yoos, Molly Hogle, Duane Warren, Shawn Lewis
Installation Assistants: Matthieu Bain, Joshua Gardner, Shawn Lewis, Sze Wan Li, Sergio López-Piñeiro, Noellan Niespodzinski, Mark Nowaczyk, Alex Poklinkowski, Joseph Swerdlin, Duane Warren, Robert Yoos
Consultants: Mark Bajorek (structures), Katharina Dittmar (Biology)
Tifft/Buffalo Musuem of Science coordinators: Lauren Makeyenko, David Spiering

Bat Cloud is part of the University at Buffalo Humanities Institute’s “Fluid Culture” Event Series
Fluid Culture organizers: Colleen Culleton, Justin Read

Thanks to the UB School of Architecture and Planning for support.

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Another design by Joyce Hwang on e-architect:

Bat Tower Design
Bat Tower design
photograph from Brian Carter
Bat Tower design
BAT TOWER is a prototype building which seeks to increase public awareness of bats and highlight their critical role in our ecosystem where they are effective as natural pesticides and pollinators, as well as in the abatement of mosquitoes. However bats are often considered as problems, and frequently exterminated by ‘pest control’ services.

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