The Honeybee Discovery Center building by HMC Architects is a sustainable and innovative space that complements the local agricultural context
Orland, California, USA
Making a positive impact by advancing the public’s awareness and understanding of honeybees, pollination, and their importance to the environment and our food supply, HMC Architects develops a research center building that becomes “the first interactive exhibit and museum of its kind.”
For its eco-friendly architectural qualities, the Honeybee Discovery Center has recently been awarded a 2023 Green Good Design Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
This all-new facility is not only inspired by the bees and how they build, but the building and surrounding site will be a model for restorative building practices that give back to the many resources that were destroyed by decades of careless building practices.
The Honeybee Discovery Center will also restore our relationship with nature by reconnecting our human-built environment to the natural ecosystems.
Starting from the exterior, a rooftop pollinator garden will provide insulation, habitat, and water retention.
This hovering garden keeps bees out of reach, providing a safe environment for both the bees and the humans.
Ground-level gardens will focus on plants that attract other pollinators like birds, butterflies, and moths. In the building interior, the enclosed spaces are oriented east-west under an umbrella roof that rises from the south.
The specific angles suit the needs of the different programs and performance goals.
At the south entry, a low roof with a pollinator garden is tilted at the right angle to be visible to arriving school buses but low enough to create a stable soil bed.
Over the main hall, the angle of the roof is nearly ideal for solar exposure at this latitude.
A photovoltaic array generates 20% more power than needed to meet all annual needs on site.
Together, the solar array and the roof garden represent two kinds of photosynthetic roofs—artificial and natural.
The center will be one of the world’s smartest high-performing buildings, achieving net-zero energy, LEED Platinum, and Living Building Challenge.
Project: Honeybee Discovery Center Architects: HMC Architects Client: Honeybee Discovery Center Photographs Courtesy of the Architects