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Bird-friendly building design

Bird-friendly building design

May 24, 2018

Lockmetal recently came across a fantastic video from BBC World Hacks, explaining how Architects in Canada are leading the way in terms of bird-friendly building design. It’s a great example of how architectural design and Statement Cladding can work together to achieve a core objective.

Every year, hundreds of millions of birds are killed or injured when they fly into windows. Collisions can happen anywhere but they are most common in cities where big glass buildings dominate the landscape.

This is because birds find it extremely difficult to see the glass. They see through the glass to what’s inside, such as plants or empty spaces, and they often see the reflection of sky or greenery. But not the glass.

Most birds fly at around 20-30mph which means when they collide with buildings it’s usually fatal.

The issue has been especially prevalent in Toronto which is why it has become the first city to make new buildings safe for birds.

Since 2010, developers have had to adhere to a set of bird-friendly standards and regulations. There are a few ways that buildings can be made safer for birds.

As glass is the cause of the collisions, reducing the amount of glass that building’s use is a really simple way to make them safer. Where glass is used, markers can be added which enables the birds to actually see it and avoid crashing into the building.

Recessing windows can be a great way to stop reflections and give birds an easy time of identifying glass. Similarly, shutters and blinds can be used to hide the glass.

And because birds are often drawn to the lights within buildings, turning off lights that do not need to be on – especially at night – can reduce the amount of collisions.

Older buildings have also been modified throughout the city to tackle the issue and reduce the number of bird deaths.

And these changes are not only beneficial for birds. Reducing the amount of glass used in building design and adding shades and blinds to those that do use glass can also help to insulate buildings more effectively.

And other cities have started to follow suit. The Aqua Tower in Chicago used several types of glass designed to deter birds, whilst the US embassy in London has an “envelope” designed to prevent bird collisions.