In anticipation of our upcoming DELVE: Architecture + Art Event this fall, we wanted to share some work inspired by one of nature's architects: the bird. We've come across some fabulous projects over time that speak to the structure of nests, building piece-by-piece, and the reuse of small materials to create a sense of functionality, home, and a connection to the earth.
Earlier this year at the University of Buffalo, NY, artist Janelle Iglesias constructed an immersive bird’s nest in the venue’s two-story Lightwell Gallery that is inspired by bowerbirds, a species of bird that goes to great lengths in nest building to attract mates. IN HIGH FEATHER, a site-specific project "inspired by her recent travels throughout Bali, Raja Ampat and West Papua, Indonesia, included images and field recordings from her travels as well as materials sourced locally––such as discarded Christmas trees and cereal boxes." (via UB Art Gallery)
"Bowerbirds spare no efforts to attract a mate. They build intricate architectural structures of twigs and leaves and such—the bowers—then embellish them with all sorts of gaudy baubles—feathers, shells, pebbles, coins, butterfly wings, whatever available
bright and shiny things, including more and more in modern times items in plastic. Each species of bowerbird—there are 17 species in all in New Guinea and parts of Australia—has preferences as to architectural style, décor items, and even color schemes." (via ArtVoice)
Also alluding to nests and the natural world, we learned about a new book via Hyperallergic called Natural Architecture Now: New Projects from Outside the Boundaries of Design by Francesca Tatarella, available from Princeton Architectural Press, that includes 25 studios and over 50 projects "inspired by bird nests or vanishing building techniques, architecture based on natural materials is an expanding focus in both sculpture garden and urban landscape."
We also loved the project Sandy's Remix, in 2013 at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. BBG commissioned a tree house artist, Roderick Romero, to use over 100 felled trees from Hurricane Sandy to create a giant, one-of-a-kind tree house nest on the property in Brooklyn. At over 200 square feet it was definitely big enough for humans and used as part open-air classroom, part viewing point, and part artwork.
And of course, we must take a look at the work of Andy Goldsworthy, a Scottish artist knows for his outdoor sculptures completely made of natural materials created all over the world. What's especially beautiful about Goldsworthy's work is that he "specializes in the ephemeral. A seven-foot-long ribbon of red poppy petals that he stuck together with saliva lasted just long enough to be photographed before the wind carried it off. His leaves molder, his ice arabesques melt. One work in which he took special joy, a sort of bird's nest of sticks, was intended to evoke a tidal whirlpool; when the actual tide carried it into the water, its creator marveled as it gyrated toward destruction." (via Smithsonian Mag)