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Environmental Architecture (MA)

Tima Rabbat

Tima Rabbat is a spatial practitioner and architectural researcher currently based in London focusing on ecological networks and mutual dependencies. Her interests lie in the politicised territorialisation of space, thinking through themes of ownership and protection within changing environments.

Tima's academic background is in architecture- she graduated with a five-year BArch Hons from the American University of Beirut. Prior to joining the MA Environmental Architecture program at the RCA, she gained two years of experience working as a designer in Oslo and Rotterdam on a series of socially centered projects.

beekeeper smoking his hives

According to the European Union’s quality policy on agriculture and rural development: “EU quality policy aims to protect the name of specific products in order to highlight their unique characteristics, which are linked to their geographical origin as well as traditional know-how.” Since the wildfire of August 2021, the government-backed planning commision, DIAZOMA, has been working on strategies to redevelop the remaining and burnt forests of northern Euboea; thus far, these plans appear to be driven by commercial development interests and without regard for existing residents, ecologies, and economies. This project aims to encourage and enhance the claim-making process for “Geographical Indications” as a method to create disruptions within the “DIAZOMA” plan. 

Sticky Volumes challenges the extent of protection granted to a professional apiary to not only include the territory of a beekeeper, but also that of the bee. This is understood as a way for beekeepers to claim back and protect much larger plots of the Euboea Forest by making official claims for the significance of the burnt landscape. With the understanding that honey is not only produced in a hive, this project looks at the multidimensional nature of a bee's territory vs the flat boundary of the beekeeper's territory. Bees occupy a constantly expanding and contracting space, depending on multiple factors such as availability of resources and presence of competition. This space could extend horizontally as far as 8km, and vertically up to 35m. 

With the understanding of honey economies as honey ecologies, this project proposes to look at honey making as an exploration of the collaboration between plant and pollinator. Sticky Volumes spotlights this collaboration by displaying the scent of the Euboean Forest.

*Sticky Volumes is a collaboration between Tima Rabbat and Lin Xuan.

Following the increase in forest fires in North Euboea in recent years, different parcels of the forest are at different stages of recovery—from unburnt, to burnt with healthy shrub, to burnt with unhealthy shrub. Large zones of the Northern Euboean forest were grouped that—due to a variety of factors including exposure to the fire, soil conditions, and underground root ecology—result in a unique smell landscape.

Two figures shown collecting samples in a field of chamomile flowers.
Samples of the flora, pine needles, and burnt bark were collected that are responsible for the prevalent scent at that point in time (April 20-30, 2023).
sample of burnt bark
sample of pine needles
sample of yellow flower
sample of rosemary
sample of lemon blossom
Chinese berry blossom

These samples were used to extract 18 unique scents through a series of steam distillation processes which are meant to represent pollinator plant collaboration across different forest ecologies. This research works with understanding these scents, how long they last, their different compositions, and how best to use scent as a tool for the creation and division of space. 

With digital modelling tools, a simulation of a bee landscape allows for the visualisation of honey production through different speeds and different scales, from both human and bee perspectives. This image alteration is just an approximation of the ways in which bee sight is different: it is an attempt to explore visual modelling as a tool for information gathering. This video creates an immersive experience to both simulate the environment from the perspective of these pollinators, as well as to explore future scenarios and their effects.

Beekeeping Laws in Greece

We choose to tackle this issue through the lens of the bee due to the existence of many beekeeping laws in the Greek constitution that cater towards the protection of bees and the surroundings of the apiary for the purpose of honey production. This includes Presidential Decree 1980/1981 - Official Gazette 54/A/4-3-1981 that states that the beekeeper is responsible to take all preventative measures to protect the forested area around their apiary from the risk of fire, deterioration, and flooding.

Laws relating to beekeeping in Greece

This research culminates in the application of two PDO forms to the EU’s Council on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs, in collaboration with our partner Kostas Haralas, a beekeeper based in Northern Euboea. The first PDO is for Pine Honey and encompasses the healthy unburned pine forest as the space of the primary original output from the productive forest. The second PDO is for Fire Honey, which is a type of honey that Kostas has been producing in the post-forest-fire landscape, from the flora and brush that has emerged as a product of that burnt ecology.

PDOs for 2 different types of honey
This application proposes a new way to understand and look at these burnt forests—given that it takes forty years for pine forests to grow back and with the knowledge that fires are only increasing with time—creating a mechanism of value to understand that which is damaged is still productive.
burnt pine forest with a healthy brush