Designers, Students Flock to Bird House Design Competition

By Laura Pearson | Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tim Morrison's mid-century modern "Prairie Kestrel House." Photo courtesy Tim Morrison.

Some birds around Chicago will experience better (or at least artier) housing options this year, thanks to Tweet Home Chicago: Bird House Design + Build Competition. Sponsored by the City, in partnership with the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Bird Agenda working group, the competition was designed to call attention to our urban avian population and the need for bird habitat restoration. Entrants were encouraged to build environmentally friendly houses for one of eight regional bird species. Hundreds of people?students, artists, professional designers, and carpenters?took on the challenge, and more than 130 bird houses were entered.

The panel of judges included Theaster Gates (University of Chicago), Donnie Dann (Bird Conservation Network), Terry Guen (Terry Guen Design Associates), and Sarah Dunn (UrbanLab). This past weekend, Mayor Daley and Tweet Home Chicago partners honored the winning entries at the Chicago Center for Green Technology (CCGT).

Lincoln Square resident Tim Morrison, a scenic designer and artist, was a Top 10 finalist for his Prairie Kestrel House. In the description accompanying his entry, he wrote that he designed it for the prairie garden in Winnemac Park at Foster and Leavitt: ?Evoking Prairie School architecture, the colors and textures of this bird house reflect those of the prairie garden, and the horizontal detail of the stonework suggests the horizontal vistas found in this expansive city park.?

So did he choose kestrels because of their appreciation for intricate stonework? Well, not exactly. ?I picked the kestrel because we?ve seen them in our yard before, and it?s a larger bird which meant I got to do a larger bird house,? Morrison explains. ?I wanted space to do some kind of informational graphic about the bird, so the top of the house features a map that shows where the kestrel lives.?

He adds: ?I also thought the kestrel was a cool bird and would look good in a cool mid-century modern bird house.?

We couldn’t agree more. To view all the cool bird house designs, check out the Tweet Home Chicago Flickr site. Select houses will also be on display at various public venues and events?from field houses to fundraisers.

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    Lincoln Square resident Tim Morrison, a scenic designer and artist, was a Top 10 finalist for his Prairie Kestrel House.

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