The glass and lights of skyscrapers in downtown Chicago pose danger to hundreds of thousands of migratory birds. But the 82-story Aqua Tower is a beacon of a different sort: one for architects embracing bird-friendly design. Compared to some of its neighbors, the Aqua Tower is safer for birds because its undulating, wave-like balconies and fritted glass break the reflections that confuse birds and invite collisions.
Today’s show brought to you by The Bobolink Foundation.
The Aqua Tower - Architecture with Birds in Mind
With Jeanne Gang
Interview by Todd and Chris Peterson
This is BirdNote!
[Sounds of the city at night]
The glass and lights of skyscrapers in downtown Chicago pose danger to hundreds of thousands of birds migrating at night along the shores of Lake Michigan. The 82-story Aqua Tower, however, with its undulating, wave-like balconies, is a beacon of a different sort: one for architects seeking to address bird-safety. Architect Jeanne [gee-knee] Gang and her team at Studio Gang incorporated non-reflective surfaces and fritted glass into their design of the Tower.
Here’s Jeanne to say why:
“I grew up really loving nature and natural environments, but I wasn’t particularly a birder…and I learned that buildings are one of the biggest mortality factors for birds in the U.S. As an architect, I didn’t want to be one of the biggest killers of birds! I just learned what I could from the experts and applied it, and then you know what! My love of birds has just flourished since then…”
Jeanne also sees architecture moving toward more bird-safe design through building codes and new ordinances, such as those in San Francisco.
“There’s many different aspects of this issue. There’s the lighting issue, there’s the glass issue, there’s the operations of the building too, like turning off the lights at night…”
“I came into it from a different way, really learning about the problem first and then meeting people that helped turn me on to all the different amazing birds that come through the city twice a year through migration and that really struck me as such an amazing event to take part in and observe.”
You can learn more and see photos at birdnote.org
City sounds from Kessler Productions and CP recording.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2013 Tune In to Nature.org October 2013 Narrator: Michael Stein Marantz V Tracks 338, 335
https://birdnote.org/blog/2012/10/when-birds-and-buildings-collide-part… / https://birdnote.org/blog/2012/10/when-birds-and-buildings-collide-part… / Chicago Bird Collision Monitors http://www.birdmonitors.net / Ornilux Bird Protection Glass http://ornilux.com/