Structure’s triple glazed viewing platform cordoned off after cracks discovered in the glass
The beehive-like attraction, designed by artist Wolfgang Buttress with architect BDP, features a central viewing platform at first floor level where visitors can both look up to its ‘oculus’ and down beneath their feet to the crowds below.
However, Kew Gardens cordoned off the triple laminated glass platform and covered it in carpet after cracks were discovered the weekend before last (8 and 9 October). The rest of The Hive remains open to the public.
Buttress told the AJ: ‘We believe someone went in with a rock and threw it on the centre bit producing a hairline crack. A new bit of glass is on order which will cost £7,500.
‘On the day this happened there were 2,500 people there [in Kew Gardens] so it’s very strange and very weird of someone to do this. There are rumours that a young girl was seen with a rock – three or four people reported that.’
Buttress added that the platform was designed to remain structurally safe so the cracking is only an aesthetic issue. The new glass is expected to be installed in the next four weeks, the AJ understands.
The Hive at Kew Gardens by Wolfgang Buttress and BDP
Source: Jeff Eden
A spokeswoman for Kew Gardens said it had no evidence that vandalism had occurred and said it is not investigating the cause of the cracking further.
She added: ‘Over the course of the summer The Hive has had tens of thousands of people passing through to experience its beauty and as with any working structure a certain amount of damage is possible.
‘We have detected a small area of damage to a surface layer of glass, which we are currently working to repair and then replace.
‘We have Kew trained guides on hand in The Hive during opening hours, and there has been no suggestion that the damage was a result of a malicious act of vandalism. We’re working as quickly as we can, and will have The Hive fully open again as soon as possible.”
The 17m-high Hive was the centrepiece of the UK’s pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo and was rebuilt at Kew where it is surrounded by a wildflower meadow.
Named the winner of the Gold Medal in the architecture and landscape category at the world trade fair, is the first of the British pavilions to be reused and brought back to the UK and is designed to represent the vital role played in nature and in the supply of food by bees and pollination.
Location Kew Gardens, London
Designer/artist Wolfgang Buttress
Engineer Tristan Simmonds
Manufacturer Stage One
Graphics/animation Squint Opera
Hive at Kew Gardens - glass covered and cordoned off