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Towards a Bird City

The entangled environment of birds and cities possesses opportunities for a new collective urban imagination that redresses the negative impacts of anthropocentric urban environments. We challenge the notion that cities are inevitably destructive to birds due to window strikes and disorienting artificial lighting. Through analytical mapping of window strikes, 4WTC was chosen as an initial site of intervention. The location of different birds’ nests reveals a correlation to their food resources (berries, seeds, invertebrates, etc.) under a height of 75’, which overlaps with the midstory, understory, and ground cover layers of a forest ecosystem. By reintroducing the 75’ vertical biome into 4WTC through strategic removal and addition of structures that support biodiversity crucial to the life cycles and behaviors of non-predatory birds, the project amplifies the possibility of co-living among birds and humans. Demonstrated in the prototypical intervention of 4WTC, design tactics could be translated to other human-centered architecture, thus introducing bird-oriented architecture and ecologies to resist, recalibrate, and reform bird-human relationships. Most importantly, the design logic derived from a bird’s perspective is a forerunner to reconsider a series of human building inventions, yielding productive consequences to humans and birds alike, at the urban, body, and scale of the temporal / experiential.