Insect House

By Holly Partlett  |  05 Jan 2022
  • Location:  Manchester, United Kingdom (UK)
  • Area:  La Garrucha - Chiapas, Mexico
  • Year:  2020
  • Work Type:  Student
  • Institute:  Manchester School of Architecture
  • Status:  Conceptual
  • Team Members:  Holly Partlett

With collaborative input from Karma Nutra, this project aims to boost the economy of a small indigenous population in the rural community of La Garrucha, Chiapas in Mexico. Providing individual insect houses in the garden of each property of this remote village will kickstart a regenerative process that tackles challenges such as: low income, disjointed community spirit, agricultural hardship and food availability. This will create employment opportunities within the community and bring added financial support to the villagers.

Karma Nutra focus on harnessing waste and seeking environmentally friendly ways of consuming protein. One of these alternatives is the consumption of insect protein (mealworms, crickets and other edible insects) often considered to be a less palatable option to Western cultures. One of the benefits of insect consumption is the reduction in carbon emissions caused by eating less readily available meats on the market. When only 15% of the feed required to raise cattle is used to raise crickets, it is easy to see why this option has become an extremely popular alternative to its counterpart. 60% of a crickets mass is protein, which is a far more efficient food source than cattle. The rearing process is drastically streamlined compared with other animals such as pigs, cattle, chickens and sheep thus making it a more sustainable food source.

The insect house design not only provides a safe space for the crickets but also provides communal spaces for families and children to engage with the cricket rearing process. The use of tyres and palettes allowed the project to re-use and recycle materials that would otherwise just be discarded. These were integrated in an innovative and unique way, in a way that would be simple and cost-effective to recreate in future builds in La Garrucha.

Architecture   |  Cultural   |  Educational   |  Infrastructure

3D Visual - Borax treated bamboo portal frame with earthquake-resilient recycled (rubble-filled) tyre foundations creates a robust vernacular response to sustainability.

Model - bamboo, palette and tyre (seismic resistant structure)

Visual - Insect Cafe active street frontage

Visual - Interior food preparation area for insect cafe

Volumetric Spatial Diagramming