Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk
Architecture and Design Department
Prof. Jarosław Szymański
Ornithologists are sounding the alarm over the shrinking population of Poland’s swifts, migrating birds that rank as protected species. These birds have become accustomed to life in the city, nesting in the cracks in the elevations of old buildings. Because of widespread renovations and modernized insulations these birds have lost their nesting places, a fact which encouraged the designer to take up the subject. She placed ceramic sleeves inside blocks of polyurethane foam. These contain the nesting chambers. Their elongated shapes keep the light from entering and give the birds a feeling of security; when in nature they build their nests as far as possible from the opening to their lair. The curve in the sleeve keeps predators from entering, while its shape and dimensions facilitate interior cleaning and ornithological research. The material is important here, as it ensures the birds the correct temperature, and yet limits the possibility of “thermal bridges” being created in building walls. Because of the thickness of the insulation, the block of foam can be cut along specially marked lines. Thus was created the “prefabricated” Swifter house. Reliable sources have informed us that the designer took her knowledge of bird behavior from her ornithologist father. And what a splendid use of this knowledge!