Rebuilding New York for the birds

TRD New York /
Aug.August 09, 2012 01:30 PM

Bird loving developers should flock together and balk at New York City’s increasingly glass skyline, according to architect Guy Maxwell. The Ennead Architects partner, who has overseen projects, including the New York Hall of Science restoration, New York University’s Langone Medical Center and the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center, is looking for building designs that minimize ornithological casualties, New York Now reported.

In North America millions of birds die because of the reflections of glass buildings. In New York, where both parkland and glass towers are increasing – especially around the High Line — the problem could become epidemic.

The solution, according to Maxwell, is to design surfaces that break up reflections by adding visible elements to the glass, such as wire, or patterns. So far the closest thing to what Maxwell calls “miracle glass” is the German-made Ornilux Mikado glass, which gives glass a pattern similar to the children’s game pick-up sticks that is invisible from the inside and visible to birds on the outside.

Seeing this high-tech environmentally friendly glass coating all of New York skyscrapers may be a far off dream, but Maxwell told New York Now that his sense of responsibility will keep him focused on the project. “The notion that a building that we’ve built is causing harm is really troubling to me,” he said. [NYNow] — Christopher Cameron

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