Building Bird-Friendly Architecture

Despite their alluring luxury, tall, glass-encased buildings are bird death traps, killing around a million birds in the US per year. The animals, who can’t register reflective windows, fly headfirst into skyscrapers. For more than a decade, architects have known how to design buildings that prevent this from happening, but the demand for sweeping windows have largely stymied changes—until recently. In 2021, NYC implemented Local Law 15, which mandates that all new construction be bird-friendly. This new legislation, however, does not spell the end of glass-encased buildings, as architects have uncovered ways to merge design and bird-friendly practices. Fitted glass—currently used in the renovated Manhattan’s Javits Center—is one such solution that, while safe, still allows for sharp-edged prismatic geometry. (It even cut bird deaths at Javits by 90%.) Other innovations, like ceramic frit or solar shades, also act as solutions. Learn more about innovations in bird-friendly building at Bloomberg.

Image courtesy of Cathryn Virginia/Bloomberg