The Bat House is fundamentally a space of mediation between the ground and the sky: a space that reveals itself through the movement of occupants through and around it. The project provides mutual safety for visitors and bats alike, while encouraging an overlap and a cohabitation that facilitate’s education and sensitivity to fragile ecosystems. Formed by a simple horizontal bar and vertical tower, the Bat House addresses the very different programmatic needs of both humans and bats in a single, cohesive and autonomous architectural gesture.
Circulation and Understanding
Taking cues from the process of echolocation, the Bat House creates a visual unraveling of space by way of a carefully orchestrated series of figure ground relationships in plan and section. As one approaches the Bat House it appears solid: a building defined by its perimeter. Upon arrival, the apparent solid form reveals itself as a sequence of specific spaces defined by the observers movement and location. These spaces serve as areas for gathering, presentations and discussions, and a year-round safe harbour for the bats. The interior and exterior in this case are inflections of each other, allowing the program to sculpt the facade.
Structure and Assemblage
The structure of the building borrows conceptually from the structure of the bat: a constructive logic of "skin and bones." Prefabricated trusses are delivered to the site and are assembled to create a rigid armature resting on the ground at only twelve points. Reclaimed wooden boards are fastened to the armature on a series of lightweight sub-frames allowing for quick and noninvasive assembly.
The human city and the realm of bats represent two complex and interwoven environmental trajectories. These trajectories inform the overlapping constituent parts of the Bat House: the horizontal linear visitor’s center framing the urban landscape of London and the vertical roost overlooking water and the surrounding preserve. The project and site, at this intricate intersection of city, sky and water, provide an open platform for consideration of the fragile relationships between natural and metropolitan environments.