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10:00AM - 7:00PM
Lake Union Park, 860 Terry Avenue N, Seattle WA 98109
This event is free

Presented by:

  • Thomas Cheney Architects

  • Team: Thomas Cheney, Julie Hale, Korben Mathis

    Built Installation

    What if we could design for survival?

    Bats in the Belfry – Bats are the only mammals capable of sustained flight. They consume over half their body weight in insects each night, dramatically reducing crop destruction and the need for pesticides, saving billions of dollars in agriculture each year. Nectar-feeding bats are excellent pollinators and help disperse seeds, especially in clear-cut landscapes like the rainforest. With speculation as to the origins of COVID-19, one could argue that no animal on the planet is in more need of a friend than bats. With declining populations, bats face unprecedented challenges with habitat loss, accelerated climate change, invasive species, and disease. Slow gestation periods and a limited number of offspring only compound their survival.

    The Belfry is a sculptural steeple elevated high off the earth’s floor. A mysterious spire dressed in shades of darkness that captures and retains solar radiation for thermal comfort and stability. A single steel post, powder-coated black, lifts the roost 15 feet, protecting it from predators. The wood ‘jacket’ surrounding the pole provides an attachment for the house and a landing pad for the inhabitants. Concentric partitions of three-quarter-inch stained cedar, evenly spaced apart, mimic crevices where bats nest. A steep, heavy gauge sheet metal roof rotated 45 degrees from the primary axis exposes the shell’s outer corners, emphasizing the design’s verticality. The exposed edges of the outer box are married with a continuous vertical box joint. The joinery incorporates vents that provide a richer thermal gradient for bats searching for their comfort zone.


    This team is committing to reusing materials from this experience in their own future work.