THE BEE HIVE STUDENT HOSTEL TYPOLOGY
- Rita John
Evolution often brings out the most mathematical of solutions to the challenges of survival. The hexagonal stacking geometry of a bee hive reflects millennia of evolutionary processes at play to finally arrive at the most effective solution for maximizing the storage space (for honey) in the comb, whilst minimizing the material needed to build it (the painstakingly produced bees wax). Also, these hexagonal pods act as highly efficient nurseries for the young larvae to metaphor into pupae and finally a strong adult bee.
This project attempts to recreate this efficiency of space utilisation, whilst drawing parallels between how young college students transform into professionals in their own pods – college dormitories. The development of a new student housing typology inspired by the bee hive, not only imitates it’s efficient hexagonal cell geometry, scaled up for human beings to use, it also reflects how hives work as a whole. The idea arose from how bees make their hives fully efficient by accessing them vertically through flight. The distances between hive clusters are critical to this activity and can be learnt from in the understanding how the efficiency of the cell can be translated to the whole cluster.
THE INDIVIDUAL ROOM MODULE:
The student housing typology designed uses the same idea of vertically accessing each residential unit through its back. Each hostel block comprises of 36 such modules arranged in a compact duplex configuration that limits the need for corridors to alternate floors. The doubly loaded corridor system is terminated at the end by a staircase core at one end and a bathing facility at the other end. The individual rooms comprises of two types: one accessed from the top level of the duplex, and the other from the bottom. The unique space created by the hexagonal angled walls, not only frame beautiful views to the exterior by provide surfaces to navigate vertically inside each unit.
THE HOSTEL BLOCK:
The structure of the hostel block not only maximizes the use of every shared plane of built material between units, but also showcases how hexagonal grids cope with lateral loads more evenly. In the event on an earthquake, such a system is far more effective than a conventional orthogonal building. Each hostel block fits into the earth in a unique porous profile that allows pedestrian and cycle access, connecting it with similar such blocks along interesting visual corridors. These hostel blocks though connected by the pedestrian corridors, are separated just the right distance by open green spaces to allow for sufficient lighting and ventilation for all the room modules.
The life of a student in such a unique geometric arrangement would not only be a novel experience, but teach them to question their ideas of conventional living. This exposure at a young malleable age to the idea of evolution and adapting one’s lifestyle to limited material and space availability could prove critical in shaping how the young professionals of the future use our planet’s resources.