The recently completed NCC Visitor Centre at 7 Clarence in the Byward Market has caught the eye of Safe Wings Ottawa, an organization devoted to bird-friendly building design.
CSV Architects designed the etched glass to deter bird collisions. Anouk Hoedeman from Safe Wings Ottawa notes that the design is effective in preventing bird collisions because the pattern is sufficiently dense and visible, breaking down reflections and prompting the birds to perceive the entire surface as an obstacle to be avoided.
Anouk also explains that some high-profile attempts at bird-friendly design have failed because the etched patterns have not been dense enough or the glass etching was not placed on the outside face of the glass. The project at 7 Clarence Street illustrates that bird friendly design works if it is done properly.
The City of Toronto’s publication “Best Practices for Bird-Friendly Design” is an excellent resource for building owners and architects. It recommends that etched circles be a minimum of 5mm in diameter and spaced no more than 100mm horizontally and vertically. Not all windows need to be treated. The guide describes where bird friendly glazing will be most effective in reducing bird collisions.
Anouk tells us that Safe Wings Ottawa is pleased see the bird-friendly features of 7 Clarence, because this project demonstrates that practical solutions exist, that they are effective in reducing bird collisions, and that glass etching can be an attractive addition to the design.