Washington, DC, SE

Temporary Installation 2019

320 sf

DC Department of Energy & Environment
U.S. National Arboretum

For Park(ing) Day 2019, LAB transformed two parking spaces in DC’s Navy Yard into a colorful and educational Pollinator Gallery. LAB partnered with the DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) and the US National Arboretum to help educate the community about the importance of pollinators in the District and how we can all become pollinator protectors and advocates. The installation was designed to be at once eye-catching and educational. Fueled by the question “What does a bee see?” the design team focused on highlighting the world from a bee’s perspective and showing how color perception, habitat requirements, and food source changes throughout the seasons and are vital to understanding how to create functional ecologies in the designed landscape. 

The physical installation was comprised of a field of pinwheels, ranging in color from violet to yellow and painted to represent patterns of ultra-violet light that bees see on flower petals. Arranged within a meadow of potted native perennials and grasses, the pinwheels were fixed at varying heights to indicate the yearly summer peak of insect biomass and its overall decline in recent decades. The team also designed and constructed a native bee “hotel” in the shape of the signature LAB logo brackets. The Bee Box Brackets utilize bamboo stalks of different diameters to mimic the nesting tunnels created in the ground by solitary, native bees. The brackets also became an unexpected, impromptu photobooth for enthusiastic Park(ing) Day visitors! Throughout the day, bees, butterflies, and various other pollinators visited the constructed meadow’s flowering perennials, and as the pinwheels spun in the late summer breeze, adults and children alike stopped to see the world a bit more like a bee.

Check out our Pollinator Gallery Guide (created for the day-of installation) for more about the research and resources that we gathered as a part of our design process.

Material Donations – Grasses & perennials from W.H. Boyer, Native seed packets from DOEE

PARK[ING] DAY - Since 2005, designers and like-minded urbanists have used Park(ing) Day, a worldwide phenomenon, to highlight the untapped value of public space. LAB has been participating since 2016. Each year’s project becomes an opportunity to explore new approaches to designing public space while partnering with local organizations and engaging with the local community. 

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03a-Parking Day 2019-Bee Box bracket.JPG
03b-Parking Day 2019-Pollinator Gallery bee.JPG
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07a-Parking Day 2019-setup.JPG
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15a-Parking Day 2019-green pinwheel.JPG
16-Parking Day 2019-pollinator and purple coneflower.JPG

Photographs: LAB; Drawings: LAB