Building for Birds

Monday, February 4, 2008

In order to educate visitors on the past and present of the Calumet region's unique patchwork of industrial and natural areas this project re-conceptualizes the way the building is constructed. Like a 'nest', materials for the building are collected from things abundant, nearby, and discarded. The design is composed of salvaged steel from the Calumet industrial region and other discarded recyclable materials such as slag. In highlighting these materials, the building demonstrates the sustainable principle of re-use.

The south facing porch enclosed within a basketlike mesh of salvaged steel protects the migrating bird population from collisions with the glass that they cannot see. 97 million birds die annually in the U.S. from collisions with glass. At the same time it creates an outdoor classroom for visitors and becomes a blind for observing wildlife.

Geothermal heat pumps, earth tubes, a bio mass boiler, wind turbines, and water collection systems are integrated into the overall building design and become part of the educational component of the center and its site.

Owner: City of Chicago Dept of Environment
Location: Calumet Illinois
Completion: Fall 2008

Building for Birds win the competition of fort Calument Environmental Center.