Project Entry 2014 for Asia Pacific
Last updated: March 31, 2014 Chiang Mai, Thailand
Each year, thousands of birds are smuggled in and out of Thailand for their exotic colors and bird calls, to be sold on the world’s growing black market. Rescued birds usually die in confinement because they are retained in cages for up to five years as evidence during prosecution of smugglers. The Bird Sanctuary in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand serves as both an educational facility and a bird rehabilitation center including a small hotel and bird viewing tower, in a site that simulates the natural habitat.
Palm fiber, an agricultural waste, is used as a construction material for the building enclosure – the façade as habitat and food source for all birds in the area.
Progress: “Ecology Skin” integrates natural fibers into building enclosures. Palm fiber is used because of its volume and availability, insulating and moisture-retention capability, and compatibility with nature. This fiber skin protects buildings from heat, allows seeds to take roots and grow, and in turn supports food regeneration for all birds in the area. Basically, this architectural skin utilizes natural fiber to serve four functions: thermal insulation, acoustic barrier, food supply, and animal habitat. It can be replicated in other buildings where biodiversity and energy efficiency are desired, properties that are vital for urban environments.
People: Bird smuggling kills biodiversity! Birds are taken from the wild merely for their exotic colors and bird calls. Rescuing these birds means putting them in cages for 1-5 years as evidence during criminal trials. Most birds won’t survive the trauma. Chiang Mai Bird Sanctuary (CBS) aims to familiarize people with the charm of nature’s magnificent flying creatures and nurture the coexistence of humans and birds for future generations.
Planet: Population growth and urban sprawl have encroached on flat terrains, leaving birds and other animals without habitat. CBS is designed to serve local communities and the bird population by reclaiming failed land parcels and reusing existing structures. In addition, palm fiber wastes are used for building enclosures since more than 5 million tons of palm fiber is discarded annually in Thailand. Its high insulation capacity, compatibility with nature, and moisture retention property make palm fiber ideal for energy-efficiency and eco-friendly architecture.
Prosperity: The animal sanctuary serves a growing niche of eco-tourism. Combining the existing green hotel, CBS could attract high-spending travelers who yearn for eco-friendly vacations. The bird hospice and library are integrated to offer an unparalleled learning facility, giving injured birds a permanent home and becoming an important attraction for visitors. Additionally, large corporations are integrating Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in their operations: CBS could earn funding from research on wild bird rehabilitation with continual government and private sector sponsorship.
Place: Buildings of bricks and palm highlights local landscape in new ways. Each tower and pavilion transforms over time, integrating natural materials within the natural bird habitat, resulting in gentle and ecologically-rich architecture.