Seeing through the glass walls of the new building will be a treat for passersby, but carries a potential risk for birds. Thankfully, Studio Gang Architects — equipped with research from Dr. Daniel Klem, Jr. and the National Audubon Society — have already devised a strategy for allaying that risk.
Typically known for their excellent vision and navigation skills, birds are unable to identify the glass walls of buildings. Since the glass may reflect sky or the surrounding trees, the birds are often drawn to it and unable to recognize indicators such as frames or surrounding structures to cue them into the presence of the glass. The collision of birds and glass walls of buildings is known as “bird strike.”
To prevent this, the glass being used in Writers Theatre’s new building will be specially treated with a unique frit pattern. The weather-resistant, off-white ceramic frit pattern will be applied to the sheets of glass ensuring that a certain percentage of the surface area is covered, breaking up the transparency of the glass and allowing birds to recognize the surface as a barrier. Additionally, the Grand Gallery Walk of the new building is surrounded by a wood screen. This screen also assists in preventing bird strike while still allowing patrons to enjoy a view from inside and outside the building.
Relatedly, the glass itself is environmentally-friendly. The building will feature low-emissivity,or low-e glass. It has two layers and is specially treated with a coating that reflects heat and therefore keeps the temperature inside the building moderate even when sunlight streams through the windows. The frit pattern on the glass also assists in blocking some of the heat, which allows savings on cooling costs.
We’re proud of the deliberate efforts our partners are making to ensure our new building respects and supports the surrounding nature.
For further reading on this topic, check out the article “When Birds and Glass Collide” from the National Audubon Society‘s magazine which details the issue of bird strike, organizations working to solve it, potential solutions and mentions a conference at which Studio Gang Architects presented on how they were addressing this issue in their designs.