vincent callebaut's 'pollinator park' raises awareness about declining biodiversity rates

Mar 25, 2021

vincent callebaut has unveiled his design of ‘pollinator park’, a project which raises awareness about declining rates of biodiversity. the UN states that, as of 2020, pollinators are seriously threatened with an extinction rate that is 100 to 1,000 times higher than normal. intended as a wake-up call to humanity to repair its broken bond with nature, the project seeks to protect ecosystems in order to halt the decline of pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

designed by vincent callebaut for the european commission, the organic form of ‘pollinator park’ references that of a blooming flower. the architect explains that the project’s ‘central park’ symbolizes a plant’s female organs and unites all exhibition spaces. ‘from bottom to top, the ovaries constitute the educational spiral-structured biodomes, the style accommodates a panoramic glass elevator and a chambord double staircase, while the stigma is transformed into an observation platform flourishing in the sky,’ says callebaut.

from this epicenter, the ‘farmlands’ — biodomes with honeycomb structures, ribbed leaves, or even voronoi — are dedicated to the agriculture of the future. spatially organized in a radial plane, their geometries are inspired by anthers, the male organs of a flower covered with pollen grains. these botanical greenhouses for exhibition and agricultural production are protected by a huge perianth, the non-reproductive part of the flower. this consists of a 5-sepal calyx around ‘central park’ and a 5-petal corolla around the ‘farmlands’.

all greenhouses have been designed using cross-laminated timber (CLT) and recycled or recyclable biosourced materials. in order to become positive energy buildings, the mass timber biodomes are covered with photovoltaic and thermal solar shields that filter the sun’s rays to ensure a balance between light and shadow. ‘under its futuristic domes, ‘pollinator park’ promotes the noble role of the farming profession,’ says vincent callebaut. ‘it shows good practices in pollinator preservation on multiple levels: land-use, agricultrual, forest and urban.’

implanted in the landscape at the perimeter of the scheme, a field of wind chimneys and turbines generates energy. ‘this wind farm also makes it possible to use the energy of the wind and take advantage of the ground’s thermal inertia to naturally bioclimatize the spaces inside the greenhouses,’ callebaut continues. ‘in fact, the wind chimneys use geothermal energy to cool the greenhouses in summer and heat them in winter, the temperature of the ground resting at 18 degrees celsius (64°F) all year round.’

the project can be experienced online or in virtual reality via its official website. the scenographic experience inside this biomimetic oasis focuses on the correlation between pollinators and food production. an immersive scenography aims to educate and encourage people to protect their natural fauna and flora heritage and consequently their health.

‘in his design of ‘pollinator park’, architect vincent callebaut shows how architecture can also help in the fight for a better future, integrating the best agricultural, technological, and design practices for living in harmony with nature,’ says the european commission. the commission also says that the project is ‘a significant contribution’ to the new european bauhaus initiative — a think-do tank that seeks to explore the positive potential of green and digital challenges.

project info:

name: european commission’s pollinator park client: european commission, brussels EU commissioner environment: virginijus sinkevicius architect: vincent callebaut architectures, paris partners: royal belgian institute of natural sciences, museu de ciencies naturals of barcelona, naturalis biodiversity center of leiden story and technology: poppins & wayne virtual reality: cousteau studio performing: ‘dead beez’ by stiin cole more information: official website