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Strength vs. Beauty


In response to the city's expanding population and limited space, London Borough Council have set a brief to design a model prototype of a housing project building.

Therefore, inspired by nature, can you make a strong structure look beautiful?

AGE: 14-18

TEDI brand photo

Beehives are predominantly made from hexagons, which are considered elegant and beautiful. But why do bees use them?

Research has shown that the geometry of hexagons makes them one of the strongest shapes as they are able to handle a lot of force even if they are made from a lighter material. By storing the queen bee’s eggs, pollen and honey, hexagons within hives are also the most efficient use of space engineered by evolution.

Using this knowledge, you have been tasked by London borough council to design a model prototype of a housing project building. The building must house up to 50 families and change the traditional notion that housing projects are ugly with function prioritised over aesthetics.


You are encouraged to build a prototype building structure that answers the brief and can support itself and additional weight. You should think about the effects of rising populations and how engineering and design is a hugely important part of how society and cities across the world could tackle this problem. You could compare bio-mimicry aspects relatable to hexagons in nature alongside real life uses within architecture, products and science. You should research further in order to come up with some ideas but this is an interesting starting point: Why does nature choose hexagons?


Any building materials lying round the house will do for this project but more specifically you will need: Card, scissors, masking tape, double sided tape, craft knives, metal rulers, cutting boards (to cut on using craft knives). Additional building materials/equipment could include: Dried spaghetti, A4 paper, wooden dowel, lolly sticks, metal rod, string or fishing wire, paper or plastic straws, glue gun and glue gun sticks - it really is up to you!


What is biomimicry? How can biomimicry be used in the engineering? Examples: Bullet train, Wind Turbine Blade Why don't Bees use circles in their hives? Why are hexagons considered aesthetically pleasing? Is aesthetics as important as function in architecture? Can you give any other examples of how design and engineering has tackled rising populations throughout the world?


What went well? What didn’t go so well? What would you do differently next time?

We’d love to see the outcome of your design – send pictures to