words Johanna Agerman
This week London-based designer and artist Gitta Gschwendtner revealed her latest work, Animal Wall, in Cardiff. It is a 50 m long wall filled with 1000 bird houses constructed from woodcrete, a mix of wood chip and concrete.
It was commissoned by Charles Church Developments for the opening of ‘Strata', a new residential development in Cardiff Bay. "It will house about 1000 birds, roughly the same number as flats in the development," says Gschwendtner. "It will redress the ecological balance."
The project was two-and-a-half years in the making and was developed at the same speed as the housing. Gschwendtner consulted with ecologists on the design of the bird houses in order to attract as varied a fauna as possible. Four different sized animal homes were developed which will attract bats, starlings, sparrows and blue and grey tits. "But not everyone will come at the same time," says Gschwendtner. "Instead there will be a constant turn-around of tenants."
For the time being the houses will remain empty, as the birds and bats won't be looking for places to nest until next spring. "Some people are concerned about bird poo," says Gschwendtner. "But they don't need to worry. Birds keep it very nice and clean around where they nest."