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Under the Grid

A large amount of land is not being used for construction within the Green Belt of London. The National Grid takes up to 1.2% of England’s territory and on the chosen site of the project, located North of Harlow, up to 7.8%.
The main reasons why this huge amount of space is not being used is because of Electromagnetic Radiation emitted by the overhead powerlines and because of increased risk of fire hazard.
The building project approaches a methodology which aims to create a new building typology which could be built in this special environment. The proposed typology envisages a building which is shielded from electromagnetic radiation, is fireproof and soundproof and which fulfils the building constraints stipulated in the “Working near National Grid Transmission Equipment” technical guide.
After analysing different scenarios, the brief of the project chooses to explore the most sensitive example in order to prove the feasibility of the methodology. The building programme focuses on bees, as the most sensitive lifeforms to electromagnetic radiation, and proposes an Apiculture Centre.
The Apiculture Centre is as much a living museum, where the public could visit and observe the bees in their natural habitat, as it is a Honey Factory and a Bee Research Centre. The main part of the building is the Overwintering room, where bees are having their bespoke hive and flower fields that could sustain their activity in winter. The public meanders through this space on suspended walk-ways which allows them to have an unprecedented up-close look over bees and their activities. The centre also provides teaching spaces and facilities for beekeeping, together with the Honey Product Processing Factory and Research Laboratories, a Honey Shop, Cafeteria and Offices.
On the environmental level, the building has a positive impact on the local habitat of bees, connecting the two sides of the power lines through its Bees Highways. Despite its complex form, cutting edge materials and advanced building construction, the Apiculture Centre is a low-tech building with uses stack ventilation, passive natural heating and rainwater harvesting.
Being the only building of its type, the Apiculture Centre represents an example of a methodology that could be applied to other agricultural buildings such as Chicken Farm or Pig Farm or Diary Farm that could be placed across or Under the powerline Grid in the future.

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