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Snøhetta, Brooks + Scarpa among studios to create birdhouses in Texas


Members of ten architecture studios including Snøhetta, Brooks + Scarpa and Gensler have designed birdhouses for an exhibition on display at Brackenridge Park in San Antonio, Texas for an initiative to support restoration projects in the park.

Organized by local studio Lucifer Lighting and American music producer Randall Poster, the 2023 Brackenridge Park Conservancy Gala in early April featured custom sculptural and organic birdhouses, made for a wide range of species.

A birdhouse with a series of pitched roofs and reflective surfaces
Architectural designers created 10 birdhouses for the park. The photo is of Brackenridge Refections by David Jameson

The ten participating studios include Brooks + Scarpa, Marlon Blackwell Architects, Gensler, Lake | Flato, Olson Kundig Architects, David Jameson Architect, Snøhetta, de Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop, Michael Imber and Everett L. Fly.

The collection, known as “Birdsong Brackenridge,” will raise money for restoration projects at the 400-acre park and will be displayed at the McNay Art Museum through November before being permanently installed in the park.

A series of bird boxes on a wire structure in a park
Birdsong Brackenbridge will raise money for the park’s restoration. The photo is of Multi Martin Housing by Ted Flato

“For hundreds of years, Brackenridge Park has been a foundational part of San Antonio’s history and community,” Lucifer Lighting director Suzanne Matthews told Dezeen.

“The birdhouses, having been designed by many of the top architects working today, bring both local and national attention to the importance of this great park and the importance of protecting natural habitats within cities.”

A bordhouse at Brackenridge park
The project will be a permanent installation. The photo is of The Perch by Tom Kundig

Los Angeles-based studio Brooks + Scarpa contributed a terracotta-coloured 3D printed habitat entitled “Home Tweet Home” that serves as a birdhouse for Purple Martins and an environment for insects. The components also collect water and provide a place for things to grow.

The design translates from Lawrence Scarpa’s personal artwork and was a way for the studio to experiment with new ideas.

“As architects, we make places for people. It’s great to make places for animals as well,” Scarpa said on the various species that make the planet a better place.

A birdhouse at Brackenridge Park
The birdhouses were designed for a range of bird species. The photo is of Casa de Ave by Marlon Blackwell

The other designs came from studios across the country and use a variety of materials and forms to cater to different types of birds.

Out of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Marlon Blackwell’s Casa de Ave birdhouse is a bell-shaped laminated birch plywood creation made to accommodate a wide array of species.

From Gensler‘s Austin studio, Judy Pesek 3D printed two white crenulated orbs and hung them on thin swooping steel rods for hummingbirds.

From nearby Austin studio Lake | Flato, Ted Flato suspended a collection of pale gourds from a steel structure to house Purple Martins.

A birdhouse at Brackenridge Park
Michael G Imber’s design is topped with an acorn roof. The photo is of Faux the Birds by Michael G Imber

Olson Kundig Architects‘ Tom Kundig combined four pine cylinders with black horizontal perches for Carolina Wrens.

Washington D.C.-based David Jameson reflected Brackenridge Park back at the intended Eastern Bluebirds with a mirrored steel enclosure shaped like a set of townhouses with a chimney on either end.

A birdhouse at Brackenridge Park
The birdhouses are displayed in Brackenridge Park. The photo is of Home Tweet Home by Angela Brooks and Lawrence Scarpa

Snøhetta’s Craig Dykers and Elaine Molinar collected found materials for Huevo al Nido (Egg to Next) for Carolina Chickadees.

Roberto de Leon, from de Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop in Louisville, Kentucky, wove copper-coloured aluminium wires into a hummingbird nest for Entitled Tapestry.

A birdhouse at Brackridge Park
Craig Dykers and Elaine Molinar of Snøhetta created Huevo al Nido

Local architect Michael G. Imber cast a whimsical birdhouse on top of a tree, complete with an acorn roof, from faux bois concrete.

Using reclaimed pecan wood and bark from Brackenridge Park, local landscape architect Everett L. Fly created a cavity birdhouse that mimics something potentially found in the wild.

A similar event took place at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden last year, during which renowned artists, architects, and designers created 33 conceptual birdhouses.

The photography is by Ansen Seale and Josh Huskin.


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