How to Make a Habitat for Urban Wildlife With Bee Houses, Birdhouses, Insect Hotels, and Planter Boxes

January 4, 2014 by


Here’s an idea I love that’s at the intersection of urbanization, design, and nature.


Brike is series of modular bricks that together serve as a habitat for urban wildlife. The collection includes bee houses, birdhouses, insect hotels, and planters that work in harmony to transform a building’s lifeless facade into an urban micro-ecosystem.

An empty exterior wall becomes a cooperative vertical garden space to provide the food, water, shelter, and safety needed to attract and support local urban wildlife.

Turning an Empty Surface Into an Urban Micro-Ecosystem
The brainchild of French architects Pierrick Taillard and Christine Cordelette of the design agency PiKs, the variously shaped bricks mount on to a building’s facade, blending in seamlessly to form a sustainable urban habitat for the birds, orchard mason bees, and insects essential for urban biodiverstiy.


Apart from the obvious environmental benefits, what do I love most? Brike is like a blueprint for a highrise whose tenants are urban wildlife. I’m smitten by the endless design possibilities for configuring an entire sustainable metropolis on a single barren facade. 


Made from natural ingredients like white clay, kaolin, green clay, sand, and water, the bricks contain nothing toxic to humans, wildlife, or the environment.


Vertical Living for Urban Wildlife
Each component is designed to provide a home for a number of species and promote the natural cycle of pollination and safe pest control. Bricks with holes offer refuge for orchard mason bees. Birdhouses create shelters for fine feathered friends, and one even has an awning. Bug hotels that resemble city condos become residences for beneficial insects. And local urban flora can blossom in brick flower boxes.


I’m not exactly sure how one irrigates and maintains the bricks if they are installed high off the ground. I guess installing some drip irrigation could work. And a tall ladder.

 All images via PiKs.

  • Deirdre Eilis

    Where can I buy these?

  • Rich

    Not the correct bee depicted. Silly people.

  • Marco

    Not sure how these will hold up in freezing climates might be better suited for retaining walls

  • LazyGardenerNY

    I’m with Marco. Doesn’t sound workable in our northeast winters.

  • James Paulson

    Great stuff! So innovative and I bet the birdies love it!

  • Robin Horton

    You may be right Catherine. I like to share concepts, especially when they drive conversation and debate. Gets people thinking about things and ya never know what it will generate.

  • Robin Horton

    I’d like to know that myself, Marco. I know many roof tiles are made of the same material , and they hold up in freezing climates. Guess they’d need to be tested.

  • Tatiana Lisseth

    This is ever so lovely!
    Thanks for sharing.

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  • Cedar

    I noticed the wrong bee as well… and beyond the gardening outside in a tiny brick thought.. wouldnt the birhouses and mason bee bricks be to small to actually raise either young birds or female mason bees? they would also be a pain to clean out when either was full as well right? Only being critical. its a grand way to start reversing everything we have taken away. beautiful designs!! :) Just wish the designer knew a little more about who he was designing for…

  • Robin Horton

    Thank you for your feeback Cedar. I really am not a bee expert, but you have me intrigued and I would like to learn more about this. I can post back when I learn more in response to your comment.

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