This is what we submitted for the Evolo Skyscraper competition. Our design imagines of a world where birds evolve to nest skyscrapers. We didn’t end up winning any prizes, but it was a fun process nonethless. You can view the winners at: evolo-arch.com
Our final boards can be viewed here:
This is a proposal for a skyscraper that perhaps will emerge in the near future, which will surface without the contribution of human effort. Although it will be the unintended side effect of technological progress, and therefore can ultimately be considered the result of human activity. It is a skyscraper nested by birds, out of man-made materials including cars, missiles, buses and tanks and other detritus of the human population. Our materialist and capitalist society tells us that if it is economical and convenient enough, then it is permissible to destroy nature and wipe out natural habitats. Will nature’s environmental refugees continue to face extinction, or, as this structure proposes, will they innovate in their adaptation to survive in this world that is changing faster than ever?
Birds are known to be incredibly capable of adapting to adverse environments. They have continued to evolve in human habitats (or habitats that men have taken over) and have become stronger. Bower birds recognize plastic and metal scraps and decorate their nests with bottle caps, straws and other trash thrown away by people. Many species have adapted their wings to maneuver through tall skyscrapers and they have become comfortable dwelling within the human-made architectural spaces. They are becoming like us. Male Lyre birds imitate the sounds of their environment in order to attract a mate, even if those sounds include man-made noises such as sounds of camera shutters, car alarms, or the high-powered chain saws of foresters intent on destroying their habitat of trees.
What next? If they learn to flock in bigger colonies and learn to use heavier materials for building their nests, being the excellent architects they already are, what could limit them? To imagine birds building skyscrapers out of humanity’s disposable culture seems laughable. But history is full of ideas and inventions that sounded ridiculous at the moment. Who would have imagined thousands of years ago, when people used to live in huts built of mud and straw, that one day, there would be towering skyscrapers filling the sky? Just as mankind started constructing taller buildings to accommodate the growing population and crowded living conditions, birds, the master builders, will soon need to implement a new typology of nesting as their survival mechanism. As they are losing surface area, birds will need to start extending vertically for higher density. In fact, it is their very anatomic design which defies gravity, that allows them to reside in vertical structures better than human beings, who were designed to circulate merely on two dimensions.
The evolved skyscraping nests will emerge in a few selective areas where birds still recognize as their habitats. An ideal place for the avicular colonies to build their first structures would be the demilitarized zones, where wildlife is unintentionally reserved. There is a long stretch of this DMZ in Korea, the Korean Demilitarized Zone, separating the Korean peninsula in half. Humans have not entered this land for half a century. Unlike the other places in the world, more and more non-human species thrive in the DMZ. It is ironic to see how animals have found their own little Eden in between the war zones. The avicular colony will build an ineffably grand skyscraper and it will be created with piles upon piles of men’s failed dreams and broken hopes in preserving this earth.