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Berkeley Bat House

London, United Kingdom
1 of 5Designer's document

Located in the London Wetland Centre in Barnes, The Berkeley Bat House is the first bespoke shelter for common bat species in the UK.

It is made of a natural Hemcrete (cementfree hemp-based concrete) walls reinforced with timber studs and covered with lime render. The roosting panels on the front elevation are laser-cut spruce plywood. Positioned along the southeast-northwest axis with its main elevation facing southeast, the Bat House has reduced energy demands. Its orientation was set by carrying sun path studies at key dates between April 1 and May 15, when roosting bats are most sensitive to temperature variation and require greater amounts of passive heating. Since its opening in 2009, the Bat House has become a focal point for bat enthusiasts worldwide.

The Bat House was a result of an international competition arranged by the RIBA and the Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller, and won by Jorgen Tandberg and Yo Murata. The building was completed in collaboration with Yo Murata, IJP, Arup and Davis Langdon. It stands 4 meters tall, with the capacity to house a few thousand bats (some of which have already moved in). The design was based on a picture in a frame for the bats to roost in – the Wetland Centre where the building is located is in itself a completely constructed and artificial nature, and the building thus becomes a picture in a frame within a picture in a frame, as layers of nature and artifice – also highlighting the problematic aspects of creating a man-made shelter for wild animals. The facades of the building consists of 200m2 of CNC cut plywood, the white frame is made from hemcrete, a sustainable building material that binds CO2 within itself.