Belatchew Arkitekter’s studio Belatchew Labs presents InsectCity and the insect farm BuzzBuilding, nightview



In the year 2050 it is estimated that the Earth will be populated by 9 billion people and a question that is raised is how a sustainable food-production that produces enough for everyone, without posing additional stress on the environment can be designed. A solution is to find an alternative to meat production, and one such protein source is insects. There are approximately 1900 edible species of insects, and 2 billion of the world’s population already eat insects today. Protein production from insects is much more efficient than meat production, for example, 10 kg fodder is needed to produce 1 kg of beef, but the same amount of fodder can produce 9 kg of insects.

Posted 12 March 2015

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In 2018 it is estimated that the city of Stockholm will have 940 700 inhabitants. In order to produce protein from insects corresponding to the inhabitants’ meat consumption about 500 000 m2 farmable surface is needed. By placing insect farms in nine roundabouts throughout Stockholm the goal of making Stockholm self-sufficient in protein can be obtained.

Belatchew Arkitekter’s studio Belatchew Labs InsectCity and the insect farm BuzzBuilding

Belatchew Labs BuzzBuilding cross section

To illustrate what an urban insect production might look like, Belatchew Labs has developed the insect farm BuzzBuilding for cultivation of crickets, offering 10 350 m² of farmable surface. BuzzBuilding consists of a building that integrates the whole insect production flow, from the egg to the ready-to-eat insect. Additionally, BuzzBuilding is a safe haven for endangered wild bees, which, apart from ensuring endangered species of bees’ continued existence, also turns Stockholm into a blooming and fertile city.

The main structure is a steel exoskeleton, an outer skeleton, inspired by the structure of insects. On the ground floor there is a restaurant where insects are prepared and sold. The goal is to make the production public; in contrast to the hidden meat production it invites the public to observe and participate, and offers accessible knowledge about where our food comes from.

The building has a so-called torus-geometry which, like a donut, has a hole in the middle. That is where a protected yard is created with a micro-climate that together with a rich insect life produces a thriving garden. The supporting structure of the building is a steel frame inspired by an exoskeleton, that is, an outer shell that resembles the structure of an insect which gives free planning without pillars. The secondary structure runs around the building in a spiral form and reinforces its insect-like design.

In order to capitalize on the heat from the sun, the building’s lining has been adapted to let through more or less sunlight all the while giving the building a homogenous shell. This is obtained with the help of a sandwich element in composite consisting of an aerogel isolation. By varying the thickness of this material more or less sunlight enters the building. The upper façade panels are also given holes in varying sizes in order to attract different species of bees.
The ground floor of the building has a restaurant where insects are both cooked and sold. The goal is to make the production as public as possible, to ensure that in contrast to the hidden meat production, people are invited to observe and participate, and to spread knowledge about where our food comes from.

Belatchew Arkitekter is an architectural firm working within a wide range of projects, from urban planning and housing to offices and retail. The work of the office is idea driven with an aim to find unexpected solutions that enhance the potential of a site and add value to real estate. Belatchew Arkitekter follows the global development on sustainability and consider it our mission to integrate sustainable solutions in all our projects.
Belatchew Arkitekter has received several awards in recent years, including Architect of the Year 2006/2007 by receiving ‘The Great Design Award’ from Residence Magazine. In 2007 Wallpaper*, the international design magazine, chose Belatchew Arkitekter for its Architects Directory: 101 of the world’s most exciting new architects. Belatchew Arkitekter’s projects have been widely published in international press and in several books.

Belatchew Labs is a studio within Belatchew Arkitekter that works with experimental projects that aims first and foremost to investigate and test new approaches and solutions to urban and architectonical issues.
The projects are visionary and strive to inspire, question and challenge.

Belatchew Labs BuzzBuilding interior

CEO and Principal Architect Rahel Belatchew Lerdell
Photo: Camilla Lindqvist

Rahel Belatchew Lerdell, MSA/SAR, DESA, founder of Belatchew Arkitekter, has a Master’s Degree in Architecture from Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris, and has worked as an architect in Paris, Luxemburg, Tokyo and Stockholm. Belatchew Lerdell lectures at Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris and at the School of Architecture at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Belatchew Lerdell is also a member of the editorial board of the magazine Trä (Wood).
Belatchew Arkitekter AB
Alsnögatan 12
SE-116 41 Stockholm, Sweden

Read the NEWS page on Stockholm Insect Farm Wins Architectural Review Award at MIPIM Cannes Festival

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