What is Norway’s “Vulcan Beehive”?

16 April 2015

The Short Answer (TSA)

This “Vulcan Beehive, like the “Elevator B” hive, isn’t exactly a “new” hive.  Instead, it is an architectural façade for a fairly average beehive.  Or, rather, an average Norwegian beehive.  So, why are they buzzing about it in Norway?

The “Vulcan” is one of a small group of architectural projects that integrate an otherwise typical beehive into a novel structure designed to attract attention. What kind of attention? Well, attention to bees and beekeeping – generally. These structures have been located in the heart of cities and, in the case of the “Vulcan,” in the city of Oslo, Norway on the rooftop of Dansens Hus, a theatre for the performing arts, specifically, dance shows featuring innovative choreography.

Honeybee populations are declining worldwide particularly in North America and Europe. Honeybees do more than make honey; they pollinate an amazing number of crops. So, sudden, substantial declines in populations could seriously affect agricultural production.

All sorts of solutions are being tried. One is the urban beehive. These hives are designed not just for amateur beekeepers, but also for the urban dwelling amateur. These hives must be compact and reasonably attractive to the extent that they don’t blemish the appearance of more compact urban landscaping.

Snohetta’s Vulcans, two brightly colored columns, are decorated with a “honeycomb” inspired laser cut hexagonal pattern and laminated onto the facade’s veneer. Each of the birch-veneered hexagonal columns house a beehive.  The facades and enclosing the hives were built to a height and width suited to the beekeepers.  The columns were placed; and are prominently displayed, on the rooftop of Dansens Hus for a special reason. This building is tall enough to prominently display the hives, but not so tall as to create a distance that makes the hives difficult to see.


The twin Vulcan columns, also, are located closest to the Dansens Hus food court.  The designers noted that, although the connection is less than obvious, the proximity emphasizes the relationship between the promotion of healthy bee populations and our food supply.

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