Bird Skyscraper

By:  | August - 24 - 2020

Editors’ Choice
2020 Skyscraper Competition

Mojtaba Hatami

Pigeon Tower can be taken as an Iranian architectural wonder. This kind of architecture in the past, as agricultural infrastructure, has continued to be present in Iran. These towers were built on farms to attract pigeons. The pigeons were domesticated not for their meat (in general, birds are respected in Iranian culture), but rather for their droppings, which the locals collected and used to fertilize melon and cucumber fields. Pigeon dung was thought to be the best manure for these crops, and the tower was built for the purpose of attracting pigeons to them so they would nest in the towers and their dung could be harvested. The typical pigeon tower is cylindrical (circular ground plans) and because many animals prey on pigeons, the small size of the entrance prohibits large birds (predators) from entering inside. This is rooted in sustainable thinking in the native architecture of this land and the importance of this building in the field of agriculture and economics. Modern fertilizers and chemicals have rendered these magnificent structures obsolete leading to their abandonment in the fields, where they continue to deteriorate due to lack of maintenance.

Today, in Tehran, more than 170 species of birds have been recorded in the three main ecosystems (wetlands, woodlands, and mountainous regions), which, unfortunately, are reducing with the city expansion and destroying habitats. The current extinction rate of birds is several times higher than the normal rate. This means birds extinct at an incredible speed inflicting irreparable ecological damage.

On the other hand, soil fertility is a high priority among the many challenges ahead of agricultural production in the future. In the past, agriculture was a sustainable process, but the use of chemical fertilizers intensified with the increase in agricultural scale. This model which is based on cheap energy (production of chemical fertilizers requires a lot of energy) needs to be reviewed. Energy is no longer cheap and it’s necessary to take into account better options. The agricultural economy will change, and this is inevitable because the price of raw materials for fertilizer production has increased, which will attract attention to natural fertilizers. These organic fertilizers (animal manure, and especially bird manure) contain high levels of minerals and organic matter that can meet the needs of future agriculture.

Accordingly, and in order to meet the challenges presented, the current project focuses on the development of the idea of ​​the pigeon tower in a modern structure. This is the time to come to this remarkable traditional structure in the form of a new skyscraper with wider functionalities. This modern skyscraper can be a suitable habitat for a variety of species of birds in the city of Tehran. The collection and processing of the bird’s poops will increase agricultural productivity and provide sustainable economic development. it’s also creating the possibility of wildlife observation and birdwatching in the building, attracting interested people and expanding ecotourism, as well as increasing the interaction of citizens with birds as an essential element in the city and ultimately, by reproducing a familiar form of past architecture, is to promote social and cultural sustainability.

Providing bird habitat and increasing agricultural productivity in urban areas are not exclusively related to Iran, and this project can be set up on a worldwide scale, wherever birds are present.

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