Last night at the RIBA (the Royal Institute of British Architects) the prizes were awarded to the winning entrants of the Bat House Competition and you can see the winning entries on display at the RIBA until the 24th of November 2007.
This competition to design a bat house was initiated by Turner Prize winning artist, Jeremy Deller, who had been inspired by bat enthusiasts in Texas who had ‘excavated caves and built towers on their land to encourage bat settlement’. The competition had three entry categories: professional architects; students and the general public; and school children. The entries across the categories ranged from architecturally and aesthetically excellent designs, to those that took bat species requirements into careful consideration to completely fantastical creations – a bat rollercoaster was even included in one of the school children’s entries.
It was inspiring that the overall winners, Jorgen Tandberg and Yo Murata came from the student category; both of whom are fourth year students at the Architectural Association. Kevin Peberdy from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust said in the opening speech that it is easy to superimpose human needs in a scaled down form when designing a building for bats. Part of the aesthetic and functional strength of Tandberg’s and Murata’s innovative and intricate design resulted from the fact that it is totally incomparable in any shape or form to a human building and was conceived completely with bats in mind. Their design will be built later next year at the WWT London Wetland Centre in Barnes, in South West London.
One of the aims of the competition was to raise awareness of decreasing biodiversity and Jeremy Deller said in his speech that he hoped that the legacy of the competition amongst architects would be an increased consideration of bat needs and habitats when designing buildings for humans, especially as old buildings continually get torn down to be replaced by new ones which are not so accommodating to bats.
For more information about the Bat House Project please visit the website: www.bathouseproject.org and if you are planning to go to Manchester in the next couple of months why don’t you drop by CUBE where RIBA’s sister exhibition is showing until 26th of January 2008.