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2019 Pollinator House Design-Build Competition

Buffalo Architecture Foundation and Gardens Buffalo Niagara are inviting environmental advocates, designers, artists and students to submit functional, contemporary pollinator houses to an inaugural design-build competition

Could there be a better time to announce a pollinator house design-build competition? As pollinators face more and more hardships, the Buffalo Architecture Foundation (BAF) and Gardens Buffalo Niagara (GBN) have announced that they are teaming up to host the 2019 Pollinator House Design-Build Competition. The competition was dreamed up as a way to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Garden Walk Buffalo (GWB).

Anyone interested in creating a “functional, contemporary pollinator house” can do so by simply visiting this site, which provides all of the details on how to get started. Once built, the pollinator houses will be showcased at the Garden Walk, before being auctioned off to support GBN and BAF programs.

“The spirit of this competition is to encourage aspiring and professional designers alike to rethink what habitats could look like and to create awareness for the challenges these animals face,” says BAF’s President, Courtney Creenan-Chorley. “The intent is to have creative, clever and inspirational results.”

Not only should the pollinator houses be designed in a functional manner, they should also keep in mind a higher sense of design. Must a bird house look like a traditional bird house? Then again, there are certain inherent design features that are appealing to various birds. In the end, fantastical design must also be functional, or the premise of the competition is lost.

This competition is a valuable exercise in rethinking ways that we can help the pollinators to find stable habitats, that will help them to overcome adversities that include pesticides, invasive species, disease and parasites, and loss of habitat. Don’t forget – there are many different pollinators out there, including bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, moths, beetles, and bats!

Basic Expectations:

  • Reasonably shelter the selected pollinator
  • Provide adequate space for the selected pollinator to occupy the house
  • Provide creative and visually pleasing entry
  • Reasonable installation requirements are accounted for
  • Accommodate a combined GBN and BAF logo (available for download)

Heightened Expectations:

  • Unique fabrication methods and/or material choices
  • Distinctive architectural style or design
  • Use of recycled and/or sustainable materials
  • Inspire design appreciation and pollinator awareness

All designs will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Overall design execution
  • Originality
  • Suitability for pollinator
  • Sustainability

Awards recognizing minimally the following categories will be given:

  • Best overall entry
  • Most likely to attract a pollinator
  • Best student entry (K-12)

The competition, which is free and open to all, will accept submissions starting February 1st through May 15th, 2019. A jury of esteemed representatives from the Western New York architectural and gardening community will review all submissions for design quality, ingenuity, creativity, sustainability, and execution. 

Additional contest details and rules can be found online at BAF’s website.

Images courtesy Buffalo Architecture Foundation 

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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