01 October 2012

Building to Incorporate Bird-safe Features

A building to be constructed in downtown Omaha is incorporating specific features that can make the structure less hazardous to migratory birds.

"We recognize there are building design elements that are proven to reduce bird collisions," said Robert Jones, chief administrative officer of the Gavilon Group, L.L.C. "To help minimize collision risks, we plan to incorporate low to mid-reflective, tinted glass with gradient frit detail or solid glazing. In addition, the current design does not include windowed courtyards or other design traps that may draw birds toward a glass wall.
Finally, we will be working with the city of Omaha on its landscape design and will take into consideration exterior elements, such as nearby trees and lighting, which may increase the risk of bird collisions."
Architectural rendition of pending Gavilon building; (Courtesy image).
This information was in response to an email sent to company officials, with comments based upon an architectural rendering of the structure, which seemed to indicate features that could be a threat to migratory birds. 

Further details were also provided, from the "site design team."The site plan "submittal package" provided to the Planning Department of the city of Omaha said: “Each of the mitigating factors are supported by the site plan submittal package, including the digital samples for fritted glass, and coloration of the curtainwall, storefront, and spandrel glazing systems. The site plan also clearly supports that there are no windowed courtyards, and that we have worked to balance the City’s reasonable requirements for a pedestrian-friendly streetscape without planting an overabundance of trees at the site perimeter. 

"In reading through The Audubon Society of Minnesota’s Bird Safe Building Guidelines of 2010, the building voluntarily incorporates several of the design considerations that are suggested, all while balancing a consistent streetscape design that promotes pedestrian activity. There is no planned “beacon” or night illuminated atrium for the building, and no red lights approved or planned. 

"Additionally, the lower two levels of the building, which  it appears has the highest incidence rate of bird collisions, utilizes multiple materials to 'break up' the glass fa├žade, including perforated metal panel, architectural louvers, and a strong precast base. The south elevation of the building has no trees and landscape areas very close to the building, which will further discourage bird collisions. Additionally, the upper levels of the building will utilize a low-to mid-reflective glazing system, balancing  the concerns about glass that is either too transparent or too reflective. A fritted glass detail is also incorporated in the larger glass facades at the trading level to further break up any unintentional reflectivity of the outside environment.”

"We are proud to be constructing our new world headquarters building in downtown Omaha and strive to be a responsible neighbor," Jones said.

Gavilon, a commodity management and trading firm, is building their new corporate headquarters on a city block which was formerly the Omaha World-Herald building. It had most recently been a green space. The trees were apparently transplanted prior to ground work being started.

Construction activities are currently underway, with the official groundbreaking on September 28th. Building construction is expected to be completed by December 2013.