Backs of building, edges of transit and post industrial vacancies are just a few of the many forgotten, gritty spaces within a city. Transforming these underused spaces of cities into restorative habitats for declining species populations offers immense potential.
Chimney Swifts (Chaetura pelagica) are undergoing sharp regional declines which are likely a result of habitat loss. Before European settlers, Chimney Swifts roosted and nested in hollow, dead trees. Their habitat requirements are simple: a deep, dark, cylindrical space with textured sides and an opening at the top. As natural habitat became scarce, Chimney Swifts took to man-made chimneys.
Ecology and art blend. The bird tower stands as sculpture for the passer-by to experience, while functioning internally as a nest. The birds migrate as a means of survival, while the murmuration pattern now becomes a performance set on a sculptural stage. A basic transit experience is instantly transformed into an eco-exhibition. Our swift series is just one moment. These objects change the back of house into a location for restoration and an eye-catching experience. This method can occur globally, turning countless uncared for spaces into sites of rich habitat driven development.
Teaching Fellows: Thomas Allen, Cynthia Dehlavi, Durga Gawde, Nate Kauffman, Katie McKnight
Location: Everette, Massachusetts USA
Partner: Boston Market Terminal and Chimney Swifts
Date: July 2015
2015 Summer Design/Build for Teens at MIT: