Bird Brick by Aaron Dunkerton
Published on July 28, 2013
Bird Brick provides a nesting cavity designed specifically to meet the requirements of House Sparrows. The design is built into house or garden walls. The nesting site is a separate sealed cavity, which can be accessed via a small entrance hole in the external surface of a brick wall, providing an ideal nesting site that will last as long as the building itself. The stopper brick can be removed and the cavity cleared every 2 to 5 years, the stopper is then re-pointed back into place.
This project began as conservation project to help the UK’s endangered House Sparrow population. Over the past 50 years the house sparrow population has decreased by almost 70%. One of two potential causes for this decrease is a loss of nesting sites. House Sparrows are sociable birds and like to nest in small colonies of 3 to 4 breeding pairs, in and around our homes. However as these holes and gaps are being filled up for better insulation, they are running out of places to nest.
Through lots of interaction with Freshfield Lane Brickworks, and by observing the traditional hand throwing process, the first series of moulds were produced and tested. After a series of alterations to both the design and the moulds the final bricks were cast. They are then left to dry for one week, before being stacked into the clamp, this can take up to two weeks in itself! The clamp is then fired for 1 week; the positioning of the each brick in the kiln determines it final colouring.
The use of traditional ceramic brick material means the design has low thermal movement, can be placed out of reach from predators such as cats and other birds, as well as maintaining the structural integrity of standard bricks and by retaining the language of traditional building materials it is visually unobtrusive. The dream would be for this to become legislation, so that all new build must include 2 or 3 of the Bird Bricks. The Bricks were made and produced with the help of MBH Freshfield Lane brickworks in West Sussex, England.
Now having graduated Aaron will remain in London to intern, and learn more about the industry. He will also be exhibiting his Bird Bricks and Potraiture projects again at London Design Festival 2013, with some of his fellow Kingston University graduates; the show is called Nous.
text and images courtesy by:Aaron Dunkerton