Architects design birdhouses for Brooklyn Botanic Garden exhibit

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A Miami Beach-inspired retreat for sun-seekers, a multi-family residence clad in wood shingles and a 3D-printed mud abode will debut this month in bird-friendly form at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) For the birds, a series of garden-scale exhibitions and events billed as a “multidisciplinary celebration of the interconnectedness of birds and plants”. The festivities begin on June 11.

The aforementioned creations – designed by Studio Barnes, Joyce Hwang and SO–IL in collaboration with Dalma Földesi, Jung In Seo and Eventscape, respectively – are just three of 33 site-specific birdhouses that will anchor the blockbuster bird bash, which will also feature a indoor gallery exhibit, music, performances and educational programming inspired by the birds that inhabit the 52-acre botanical garden. As well as celebrating the feathered inhabitants of the garden, the exhibit will draw attention to the various threats they face.

“Climate change and the resulting habitat destruction has resulted in a 30% decline in birds in North America,” Adrian Benepe, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, said in a press release. . “Since 1911, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden has cultivated, preserved and promoted plants and their conservation. We are home to one of the first native plant gardens in the country and our grounds function as a wonderful protected area for birds.”

For the birds celebrates and highlights the existential connection between birds and plants, which are entirely interdependent, with art, education and science for audiences of all ages,” added Benepe.

Installation view of Pal’campo by Kevin Quiles Bonilla (courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden)
a blue birdhouse with red string elements
Installation view of Oh Robin! by Nina Cooke John (courtesy Brooklyn Botanical Garden)

Among the impressive list of architects, landscape architects, designers and artists tapped for the Avian Architecture exhibition are Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich of Peterson Rich Office, Tatiana Bilbao ESTUDIO by Helene Schauer, Roman and Williams , Stephen Holl and Raphael Mostel, Barry McGee , Tom Sachs, Misha Kahn and Olalekan Jeyifous, including Birdega pays homage to New York’s “disappearing urban ephemera,” such as corner bodegas and churches in front of stores. Meanwhile, Walter Hood A nest for crows reimagines the relationship between humans and prolific winged scavenger builders with a habitat – “woven together to create a form for new life” by Hood – built by we of our own foraged bedding, including bottle caps and other discarded items.

Many of the 33 nesting boxes displayed during the race For the birds were created with specific species in mind, such as Suchi Reddy’s dome shape, inspired by the Carolina Wren’s Nest The Egg Nest; Nina Cooke John’s Oh Robin!and Ellen Van Dusen trust me downya cedar-crafted homage to the downy woodpecker, a species the Brooklyn-based textile designer described as “noisy, destructive, lovable and cute.”

“Imagine a very large version of a minor woodpecker,” added Van Dusen. “But make it a birdhouse.”

Presenting sponsor Warby Parker has also come up with his own cheeky birdhouse dubbed Bird books. The wooden shelter takes the form of a library built from books for people-look at customers such as Rare Brooklynites and their nesting behaviors and Popular Songs: Vol. 2 (1990–1999).

rendering of a cylindrical birdhouse with wildflowers in the background
Concept art for Forage materials for foraging birds by Peterson Rich Office. (Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanical Garden)
rendering of a crow habitat built for garbage
Concept art for Walter Hood A nest for crows (Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanical Garden)

A full list of birdhouses and their respective designers along with their locations across the vast BBG complex can be found here.

For the birds is just one element of The Birdsong Project, a larger initiative just launched by the show’s creative director, famed television and film music supervisor Randall Poster. Later this year, Poster, best known for his work with director Wes Anderson, will be released The Birdsong Project, a set of 20 albums of original recordings created during the COVID-19 lockdown. Featuring poetry, album art, and over 200 original musical works, The Birdsong Project features a star-studded list of contributors spanning music, film, visual arts, literature and poetry. Beck, Elvis Costello, Bette Midler, Philip Glass, Roz Chast, Yo Yo Ma, Nick Cave, Jeff Goldblum and Rita Dove are just a few of the notable names involved. Some works of The Birdsong Project will be presented during the race of For the birds via dedicated listening posts and live performances.

“Like many people working from home during the plague of 2020, I found some comfort in the calm that has descended on New York City,” Poster said in a statement. “As someone passed by and worked on the music all my life, I had my ears open to the music of the birds and was moved by the beauty and variety of their song. I was not alone. I also learned that bird life was at great risk as habitats became more and more threatened, and so, inspired by both joy and revelation, the Birdsong Project began.

visual of a cornerstore-inspired bodega
Concept art for Birdega by Olalekan Jeyifous (courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden)
conceptual rendering of a 3d printed birdhouse
Concept art for A Palace for the Eastern Bluebird by SO–IL, Dalma Földesi, Jung In Seo and Eventscape (courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden)

In addition to the birdhouse exhibition, other highlights of the program of For the birds include an opening celebration on June 11; Birds of the West Indies, an exhibition of works by multidisciplinary artist Taryn Simon at BBG’s Conservatory Gallery (June 7-August 28); weekend birdwatching excursions; a liminal sound bath by Alex Sommers, Julianna Barwick and Mary Lattimore (June 20); a range of family exhibits; horticultural exhibits, and much more.

For the birds runs all summer and into early fall, ending October 23.

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