What will the world be like once pollinating insects, like the honeybee, are gone? Alternatively, what would happen if we allowed these important creatures to thrive? The European Commission’s Pollinator Park, designed by Vincent Callebaut Architectures, strives to answer these questions with a stark look at what the future could look like, for better or worse.
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Pollinator Park is a 30-minute, virtual experience that is interactive and engaging. Pollinator Park is an educational experience that showcases good practices in land use and how pollinators can be preserved. It promotes less monocultures and toxins in agriculture. The flourishing part of this digital universe could one day become reality, if we start building toward improving the planet, rather than taking away from it.
Most people are aware of the plight of honeybees, but there are many pollinators worldwide that are facing a dangerous future. Butterflies, hummingbirds, ants, bats, beetles and ladybugs are all pollinators. And without them, the world becomes a very, very different place. Diversity among pollinators greatly influences the biodiversity of plants. Loss of this biodiversity threatens life everywhere on Earth.
According to the UN, the rate of extinction among pollinators in 2020 was 100 to 1,000 times higher than normal. More than 90% of the world’s flowering plants depend on pollinators, and about 35% of all food we consume depends on insect pollination. When you do the math, you’ll realize there are some terrifying possibilities in the very near future. This is really the message at the heart of Pollinator Park.
The project is designed with biophilic architecture that represents different parts of flowering plants and encourages the natural flow of visitors. Pollinator hotels are integrated into the structures because above all, this is their home.
On-site greenhouses are made with light frames of cross-laminated timber and recycled and/or recyclable materials. Timber biodomes are covered with thermal and photovoltaic solar shields; the sun shields filter the sun’s rays to provide both light and shade for the plants and pollinators. Wind chimneys and wind turbines are also woven throughout the landscape. The wind chimneys use geothermal energy to keep the greenhouses cool or hot as needed.
The park was created in collaboration with Vincent Callebaut Architectures as part of the EU Pollinators Initiative. It is hoped that this project will aid the ongoing European Green Deal, a series of efforts and innovations aimed at repairing nature.
Images via Vincent Callebaut Architectures