The Hive at Kew Gardens, London

The Hive Kew Gardens, UK Pavilion Expo 2015 Milan Building, Wolfgang Buttress Design, Architecture

The Hive at Kew Gardens

UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015 Building Relocation, Royal Botanic Gardens – design by Wolfgang Buttress / BDP

17 Jun 2016

Opening of The Hive Pavilion at Kew Gardens

Design: Wolfgang Buttress with Tristan Simmonds and BDP, Architects

Location: Kew Gardens, South West London, England, UK

Former Location: Milan, Lombardy, north west Italy

The Hive comes to Kew Gardens

This giant aluminium beehive that uses real bee activity to give visitors an “experiential insight” into the life of a colony has been installed in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, reports the BBC. It opens to the public on Saturday.

The Hive is the first ever British Pavilion to be reused and brought back home, and will be unveiled within the stunning landscape of Kew Gardens on the 18th of June 2016.

UK Pavilion, The Hive, by night in Milan:
UK Pavilion, The Hive, by night in Milan
photo Courtesy of UKTI Crown Copyright

The Hive, a 55ft (17m) high and 40 tonne work which incorporates lights and music, was originally created for the 2015 Milan Expo. The lattice installation, which is made up of 170,000 parts, was designed by Nottingham artist Wolfgang Buttress.

Visitors will be drawn into The Hive via a lush and vibrant wild flower meadow as though they are bees returning to the hive. Once inside, thousands of flickering LED lights will bring this 40 tonne lattice structure to life, while an orchestral arrangement sets the mood. After discovering that bees hum in the key of C, a beautiful, complementary symphony of vocals and cello was composed to create a calming, meditative soundscape within The Hive, inspired by the deep visceral hum of bees.

Triggered by real-time activity within a living beehive located nearby in the Gardens, the sound and light intensity within the space will change as the energy levels in the real hive fluctuate, giving visitors an experiential insight into the life of a bee colony.

As dusk falls, the hypnotic pulse of the delicately glowing lights will make the planned series of ‘Hive Lates’ a must-see during September.

Website : Opening of The Hive Pavilion at Kew Gardens in London

14 Mar ; 21 Jan 2016

The Hive Pavilion at Kew Gardens

Design: Wolfgang Buttress with Tristan Simmonds and BDP, Architects

Location: Kew Gardens, South West London, England, UK

The Hive comes to Kew Gardens

Critically acclaimed UK Pavilion from Milan Expo 2015 finds new home on British soil from June 2016

After a spectacular run as the centrepiece of the gold medal winning UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, announced back in January 21st that the stunning structure, The Hive, will take up its new home within Kew Gardens from June 2016.

UK Pavilion internal shot at dusk, Courtesy of UKTI:
UK Pavilion internal shot at dusk
photograph : Hufton+Crow

Soaring 17 metres in the air, designed by Wolfgang Buttress and created by BDP, Simmonds Studio and Stage One, The Hive is an immersive, multi-sensory experience inspired by groundbreaking UK scientific research into the health of bees. Showcasing British creativity, innovation and leadership in overcoming global challenges, this magnificent aluminium structure will draw visitors into the space via a wildflower meadow, as though they were worker bees returning to the hive. The wildflower meadow will serve to build understanding and appreciation of these habitats, and their significance for insect pollinators.

Hundreds of glowing LED lights bring this 40 tonne lattice structure to life, while a beautiful symphony of orchestral sounds fills the air, with an atmospheric undercurrent of buzzes and pulses. Triggered by vibration sensors within a real beehive, the sound and light intensity within the pavilion increases as the energy levels in the living hive surge, giving visitors an incredible insight into the ever-moving life of a bee colony.

UK Pavilion, The Hive in Milan:
UK Pavilion, The Hive in Milan

UK Pavilion, The Hive in Milan

UK Pavilion, The Hive in Milan
photos : Mark Hadden

As visitors wander through this continually changing space, they will begin a journey, exploring the vital role of bees and other pollinators in feeding the planet – of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of food worldwide, 70 are pollinated by bees.

Crucial links between food security and pollinators will come alive as Kew scientists share their solutions for pollinators under pressure, from their innovative research into the plant chemicals in pollen and nectar that enable bees to overcome disease to the development of high quality wildflower seeds by Kew’s UK Native Seed Hub.

Photography below : Hufton+Crow

The Hive Pavilion UK

Richard Deverell, Director of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew said:

‘We are truly delighted to announce The Hive’s move to Kew, both for its magnificent aesthetic appeal and for the resonance it has with our work – I can think of no better home for this remarkable marriage of architecture and science.

‘The Hive creates a powerful, immersive space for us to explore the urgent issues we face in relation to pollinators, their intimate relationships with plants and their vital role in helping us feed a rapidly growing population. To be able to bring those stories alive here at Kew – a centre of scientific knowledge and expertise, and one of the planet’s most biodiverse city landscapes – is a true honour.’

The Hive Pavilion UK

Lord Maude, Minister of State for Trade & Investment, said:

‘The UK Pavilion at the Milan World Expo 2015 was an outstanding success. It was visited by over 3.3 million people in just six months, with a further 450 million people viewing it across the world’s media and online, and it received multiple awards including the Expo’s gold medal for best architecture and landscape design.

‘Our business legacy is already secured with over £800 million in business wins from the global “Grown in Britain & Northern Ireland business programme”. As a physical legacy, it is fantastic that more of the UK public will have the opportunity to experience The Hive for themselves in the perfect setting at Kew. The Expo focused on sustainable ways of feeding a growing global population while protecting our environment: I cannot think of a better home for it now that the Expo is over.’

The Hive Pavilion UK

Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Lords Spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said:

‘Pollinators, like bees and other insects, are integral to our natural environment, and play a vital role in our food industry.

‘The Hive is an extraordinary structure which symbolises how the UK champions the protection of bees and nature. I am delighted to see it make a return to the UK at Kew, where it will continue to amaze the public and raise awareness of how vital pollination is.’

The Hive Pavilion UK

The Hive – UK Pavilion Expo 2015 in Milan

The Hive – UK Pavilion Expo 2015 in Milan

To reflect the Expo 2015 theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” the UK Pavilion highlighted the groundbreaking UK research into pollinators, principally the bee, and their role in the global food chain. This includes research by renowned scientist Dr Martin Bencsik, who has been conducting pioneering research into bee vibration and communication patterns.

During its time in Milan, the Hive structure proved a huge success, attracting millions of visitors and winning the gold award for architecture and landscape. It became a powerful symbol of UK strengths in innovation, creativity and global leadership to a worldwide audience, while helping to drive exports and attract international investment.

Pollinators are an essential part of the UK environment and play a crucial role in food production, which is why a priority for this government is protection to help bees and other pollinators thrive. You can read more on the National Pollinator Strategy on gov.uk: http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-pollinator-strategy-for-bees-and-other-pollinators-in-england.

The Hive Pavilion UK

The Hive – Awards

The Hive has won the following awards:

Gold Award for Architecture and Landscape—BIE Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
Best Pavilion Architecture Award—Italian Association of Architects and other Italian
National Construction and Landscape bodies, 2015, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
Best Public Use Project with Public Funding—Blueprint Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
Best of Best for Event/Exhibition—Iconic Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
Best Landscape Scheme, High Budget—Darc Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
Winner ‘Lighting Projects’—WIN Design Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
Best Lighting Design—FX Design Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
Building of the Year—Manchester Architects Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
Best Completed Community Building—Manchester Architects Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
Highly Commended, Landscape Award—WAN Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
Highly Commended, Temporary Landscape Design—Landscape Institute Awards,
UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
Commended, Exhibition Lighting and Temporary Installations—AL Awards, UK Pavilion
Milan Expo 2015

Best Exhibit Winner—Exhibitor Magazine

Iconic Award for 2015—Best of the Best for Event/Exhibition. German Design Council

The Hive Pavilion UK

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding collections as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international and top London visitor attraction. Kew’s 132 hectares of landscaped gardens, and Kew’s country estate, Wakehurst, attract over 1.5 million visits every year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009. Wakehurst is home to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. Kew receives approximately just under half of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Further funding needed to support Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.

Wolfgang Buttress

Wolfgang Buttress creates sculptures which seek to define and celebrate a sense of place. His work alludes to histories, traces and memories, which are both personal, contextual and aim to express the sublime. The artworks establish a connection to something timeless and elemental. Increasingly he has drawn inspiration from nature, collaborating with experts to explore and interpret scientific discoveries.

Wolfgang has created and exhibited artworks in the UK and internationally. His awards include the Japanese Kajima Gold Award for Space (2014) and the Structural Steel Award for projects under £2 million (2013). More recently his UK Pavilion design created for the 2015 Milan Expo was awarded the BIE gold award for ‘best pavilion architecture and landscape’.

UK Pavilion Expo 2015 in Milan

Website : The Hive Pavilion by Wolfgang Buttress at Kew Gardens in London

Website : The Hive comes home to Kew Gardens summer 2016 – Wolfgang Buttress info

Designed by Nottingham-based artist Wolfgang Buttress in collaboration with engineer Tristan Simmonds and Manchester-based architectural practice BDP. It is constructed and manufactured by York-based company Stage One.

Website : BDP

Website : Wolfgang Buttress

Website : Dr. Martin Bencsik Physicist and bee expert

Address: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AE, UK

UK Pavilion Expo 2015 in Milan – design competition info, 5 Mar 2014


To see all listed projects on a single map please follow this link.




Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Architecture

The Sackler Crossing
The Sackler Crossing Kew Gardens
image : RBG Kew
The Sackler Crossing Kew Gardens

Shirley Sherwood Gallery – Kew Gallery of Botanical Art
Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew Gardens
photo © Dennis Gilbert
Kew Gardens Gallery

Kew Herbarium, Library, Art and Archives
Design: Edward Cullinan Architects
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Herbarium
photo © Tim Soar

Kew Gardens Herbarium

Kew Tree Top Walkway
Kew Garden's Tree Top Walkway
image : Marks Barfield Architects
Kew Gardens Tree Top Walkway

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding living collection of plants and world-class herbarium as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world.

Kew Gardens is a major international visitor attraction and its 132 hectares of landscaped gardens attract over one million visitors per year.

London Architecture

London Architecture Walking Tours




Pavilions at Expo 2015 Milan

United Arab Emirates Pavilion Expo 2015 Milan
Design: Foster + Partners, Architects
UAE Pavilion Expo 2015 Milan
image : Foster + Partners

United Arab Emirates Pavilion Expo 2015 Milan

Qatar’s Pavilion – Expo 2015 Milan
Design: Andrea Maffei Architects
Qatar Pavilion Expo 2015 in Milan
image from architects

Qatar Pavilion Expo 2015

Iran’s Pavilion – Expo 2015 Milan
Design: New Wave Architecture
Iran Pavilion Expo 2015 Milan
image from architect

Iran Pavilion Expo 2015 Milan

Iran Pavilion Expo 2015 Milan : winning design

Kew Bridge Road Flats

The Hive at Kew Gardens by Wolfgang Buttress

Italian Architecture

Comments / photos for the The Hive at Kew Gardens Architecture page welcome

The Hive at Kew Gardens : page