For the Birds, now on view at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, explores biodiversity through architect-designed follies, The Architect's Newspaper, Jul. 11, 2022.
For the Birds opens a space for visitors to think about how we can build in a way that enhances the natural world we belong to and on which we depend. Despite its avian theme, For the Birds is really for the people to think about birds, rather than for birds themselves. The distinction matters: While the Environmental Protection Agency protects nature for human use, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforces the 1966 Endangered Species Act. Concerns surrounding biodiversity are newcomers to the ongoing conversation on sustainable design. Rachel Carson’s 1962 Silent Spring initiated a movement to curb agriculture pollution, but there have been few similar moments of ecological awakening for architects. One product-based example is the campaign to popularize the use of bird-safe glass in tall buildings. The rewilding movement, which pushes for extensive wild spaces within human inhabitations to accommodate other species, is gaining ground in Europe. It’s not much of a stretch to argue that biodiversity should be part of the building code and incorporated into all planning decisions.