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Photo courtesy of Nine Yards


In the picturesque province of Prince Edward Island where agriculture and culinary industries are vital to local economy, raising awareness about the declining population of bees is more important than ever. The Urban Beehive Project was initiated by two architects, Silva Stojak & Shallyn Murray, and uses design as a vehicle to highlight and elevate the importance of bees in sustainability and food security. [1]

The project features demonstration bee hives that encourage a hands-on-approach to bee education, allowing the public to see how honey is being produced and to learn about pollination and the industry of beekeeping. The hives are housed in Charlottetown’s largest Urban Garden – the PEI Farm Centre – which hosts a range of agriculture and community related activities. This is an ideal setting for a landscape that offers plenty of bee friendly pasture as well as beautiful vistas for visitors who are passing by on the adjacent trail

The hives are placed in individual sculptural structures which act both functionally – to provide a learning platform for the public – and aesthetically – to act as engaging public art that draws people to the site and creates a destination for bee education. The public can look inside the two windows (one child height and one adult size window) to see the bees working inside the plexi-glass hive. They can also watch the bees exit and enter the hive at the bee landing pad as they bring the pollen into the working hive. The hives are constructed with wood, a locally available, sustainable material and are secured in place by helical anchors that make minimal impact on the land.

Plan Bee – Phase II of the project, features a three tiered 30’ x 15’ amphitheater made up of 3’ hexagon blocks. The playful shape of the hexagon allows for a variegated edge on the amphitheater that integrates into the landscape and permits bee friendly flowers to weave into the structure. On the upper levels this saw-tooth effect provides terraces for the seating of small groups on all sides of the hex. Attached to the back of the amphitheater is a series of vertical hexagons that rise up 9’ above the platform. The vertical pieces were designed to act as human-size hexagonal combs allowing children to burrow inside a hex shaped cell – just like a bee. The large combs also act as a framework for graphic interpretation signage that educates the public on the many complexities of pollinators when the beekeeper is not present on site. The structure is surrounded by playful grass berms so children can climb up into the combs at different levels.

The completion of Phase II has created a dynamic and multi-functional apiary destination in Charlottetown. The project has become a play structure, a sculpture, a garden as well as a tool for hands on learning. More importantly, it has become an example of how design can play an important role in our community, our development and our environment. [2]


[1]      “The Urban BEEHIVE Project BY BGHJ Architects.” Architizer, February 14, 2017. https://architizer.com/projects/the-urban-beehive-project/.

[2]       “The Urban BEEHIVE PROJECT.” Nine Yards Architecture, April 30, 2021. https://9yarchitecture.com/project/the-urban-beehive-project/.

Additional information:

Neatby, Stu. “Urban Beehive Project in Charlottetown Expands with Addition of Educational Play Structure.” SaltWire. Accessed August 11, 2021. https://www.saltwire.com/prince-edward-island/news/urban-beehive-project-in-charlottetown-expands-with-addition-of-educational-play-structure-220910/.

Urban Bee Hive Project. YouTube. YouTube, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPwdZ8Xpyo4.

“Urban Beehive Project – PEI.” CDNUrbanStrategies. Accessed August 11, 2021. https://www.canadianurbanstrategies.com/copy-of-somba-k-e-civic-plaza-nwt.

“Urban Beehive Project Creates a Buzz around Honeybee Education.” Inhabitat Green Design Innovation Architecture Green Building. Accessed August 11, 2021. https://inhabitat.com/urban-beehive-project-creates-a-buzz-around-honeybee-education/.

Project Title: The Urban Beehive Project
Artists: Nine Yards
Year: 2017

Place: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

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