Expo2015 Hive

Structural Designer

Simmonds Studio

Client Name



Milan and subsequently London


Wolfgang Buttress




Stage One


A highly complex sculptural structure that was the centrepiece of the UK Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015. Using a geometry inspired by the honey bee, the Hive underwent four complete redesigns and 21 design iterations in five months, yet was delivered on time.

The Hive consists of 60,000 unique aluminium parts, formed in a structural system of 31 stacked layers of alternating radial and circumferential trusses.

Judge's comment:

The judges were fascinated by the elegance of this sculptural aluminium structure. The fantastical attention to detail of this project and its apparent complexity are mirrored by its crafty, slender structural solution. The demountable kit-of-parts, consisting of 169,000 components, implements unconventional construction techniques, helping to connect it to the scale of its human audience. A shining example of structural engineering being-inspired by and inspiring art.

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