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Location: Rotterdamseweg 205 a, walk via parking Rotterdamseweg 195, Ackerdijkse Bos, Recreatiepark Midden Delfland, Delft


Commission: Province of Zuid-Holland, 2012
Owner: Recreatieschap Midden Delfland
Concept design: David Veldhoen
Realisation: David Veldhoen with architectural assistence from Claudia Schmidt
Advice: Erick de Lyon and Harry Kerssen
Engineering: Strackee BV, Amsterdam
Builder: David Veldhoen
Seize: l 12 x h 8 x w 4 m

Status: realised
Year: 2016 (delivery)

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The Melarium (melis being latin for honey), is both building and sculpture that serves as a building for bees, scientists and nature lovers.

Permeated with 4,000 holes, the shell of the building is akin to the fragmented eye of a queen bee. Behind this sculptural facade the visitor experiences a pixilated view of the surrounding landscape. Just like the body of a bee the interior is divided into three parts: the bees make honey in hives located in the central section, the honey is tapped in the rear section. Upon entering the front section the visitor is invited via a spiral staircase up to a roof terrace. This terrace is built to the average height reached by a bee in flight, thus inviting the viewer's imagination to fly over the surrounding landscape for a 'bees-eye' view. Below the terrace and above the hives the first floor provides a meeting space. And local apiarists can experiment and exchange the latest techniques used to best produce this important 'nectar of the gods'.

By hiding the common elementary installations of a building the sculptural character of the Melarium is emphasised. In addition to referencing the body of a bee the wooden structure is also reminiscent of farms built in this area up to 3000 years ago, though traditional Oak has been replaced by Accoya wood. Accoya is modified with 1% acetic acid making it resistant to insect borers as well as to mould, turning the building into a resistant, insulated and breathing organism. Waste matter left by visitors is gathered in the sanitary system and turned into a rich natural fertiliser with the help of tiger worms. It is then applied to the surrounding landscape planted with flora designed to attract the bees. The Melarium is thus a self-sustaining entity that forms a symbiosis with the natural environment.
The KNNV (Royal Dutch Natural history Society) runs an education and scientific program at the Melarium and organises excursions that also explore many other species of insects and plants in Midden Delfland.

NB The project is a commission of the Province of Zuid-Holland and other than claimed, in content and appearance intirely souvereign in its relation to the surrounding landart and/or World Art Centre in Delft/ Foundation Landart Delft.


With special thanks to:

Phé van den Bol, Dutch Bee Association, department Delft
Karel Winterink advice, Martin Arfalk/ Mandaworks landscape architecture;
Guido van den Bos, builder and neighbour;
Arno de Jonge and Jasper Brinkman, Royal Boogaerdt;
Marion Kleinpaste, Paul van Westing, Jacqueline Sterk, Eva Veldhoen/ Bulent Evren and others: The 'Glass team’:
Jan Spit and Angelien Karstens, hospitality;
Sebastiaan Gottlieb and Theo Schepens: support;
Huub van 't Hart: KNNV
Tom van Gestel, financial advice