To the editor:
The writer of a recent letter to the Herald claims that migratory birds will die crashing into the one-hundred-eighty-foot-tall main building of the Obama Center. The writer also points out that the building lacks windows — not quite true. Migratory birds navigate using signals from a clear sky. An overcast sky confuses birds, who instinctively seek out structures that most closely represent a clear sky. Large buildings with expanses of reflective glass attract birds, who are severely injured or killed by collisions with this dangerous, man-made surface. Who cannot be moved by the dozens of tiny lifeless bodies clustered at the base of shiny skyscrapers?
Talented, savvy architects, such as Chicago’s own Jeanne Gang, are cognizant of the dangers to birds posed by skyscrapers. Buildings designed by Studio Gang, for example, have offset windows, as are the windows of City Hyde Park at 51st Street and Lake Park Avenue. Solstice in the Park, on East 56th Street at Cornell Avenue and also designed by Studio Gang, has tinted windows placed beneath distinctive overhangs. Instead of light reflecting at right angles, the uniquely tilted windows reflect light downward, thus deterring tiny migrants.
In sum, the tiny windows of the magnificent Obama Center tower will attract very few birds, all of which will be quite safe as they fly through this uniquely beautiful park.
Frances S. Vandervoort