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Check into London's new Insect Hotel

You know the old adage: if you want stag beetles, you need rotting logs. Ok, that may not have made it’s way into our vernacular yet, but it’s still true. It’s also harder than you might think. If the logs are too wet or too dry, stag beetle larvae just won’t grow. Stag beetle larvae are very picky about the wetness of their rotting logs, but luckily Arup Associates have a solution. Their Insect Hotel design recently won the City of London’s Beyond the Hive Competition, which coincides with the London Festival of Architecture and celebrates 2010 at the International Year of Biodiversity.

The residents of the Insect Hotel are diverse, to say the least. In addition to stag beetles, Arup’s design provides special accommodations for solitary bees, butterflies, moths, spiders, lacewings and ladybirds by stocking their nesting materials of choice into a freestanding structure that takes design cues from the Voronoi pattern, a naturally occurring tessellated structure that can be found, among other places, in a microscopic view of the rib structure of a dragonfly’s wing. The other entries took a similar approach of stuffing twigs, dirt and various other detritus into designated spaces, but none were quite so artfully crafted.