Monday, December 5, 2022

A Birdhouse-Covered Hotel Room to Save the Birds

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Spend a night with the birds at Treehotel’s newest luxury getaway—a hotel room covered in birdhouses and hanging amidst pine trees in a Swedish forest.

Bird populations around the world have been steadily declining in recent decades. Our World in Data reports that more than 4,000 species (14 percent)—of the world’s bird species—are threatened with extinction.

In the U.S. and Canada alone, the number has declined by nearly 3 billion birds—25 percent of bird populations—since 1970. It’s a number, according to the American Bird Conservancy, that will keep dropping unless major shifts happen to protect them. In Sweden, 71 percent of its 21 farmland bird species showed significant decline between 1976 and 2001.

Could a hotel room help? Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Sweden’s Treehotel think it just might. The Treehotel’s newest hotel room design by BIG puts bird conservation and appreciation front and center.

 “I got to spend a few days and nights in some of the Treehotel rooms right before the pandemic, and left with a sense of rejuvenation from complete immersion into nature,” BIG Founder and Creative Director, Bjarke Ingels, said in a statement.

“I couldn’t help wondering if there was a way to take the immersion one step further— and almost instantly the idea of inviting not only the human visitors but also the resident bird and bat population to cohabit a spherical swarm of nests came to life. After our first conversations with Ulf Öhman from Norrbotten Ornithological Association we were relieved to learn that birds don’t drop where they nest—so there is hope for the glass to remain clear within this cloud of aviary architecture.” 

The Biosphere

The new hotel room, dubbed the Biosphere, is suspended in pine trees in the Swedish Harads forest and covered with 350 birdhouses. It was developed in a partnership with ornithologist Ulf Öhman in an effort to increase the forest’s bird population.

Set for completion in May, the 365-square-foot guestroom is accessed by a suspension bridge. The nature-inspired room features organic materials that bring in elements of the forest. The glassed-in room is wrapped in 350 birdhouses that vary in size and shape, aimed at attracting a range of forest birds. Guests can experience prime birdwatching from the rooftop terrace, which boasts panoramic views.

And while it may seem like a hotel gimmick, there’s value for Sweden’s conservation efforts, according to Öhman.

“Inventories in Norrbotten County, carried out both by us as ornithologists and by the county administrative board, show that the number of different bird populations is decreasing,” Öhman said.

“Forestry has led to a reduced number of natural holes in trees where breeding birds nest. The installation of bird nests is, therefore, an important measure to take,” he said.

“Furthermore, climate change leads to the insect boom happening earlier in the year, and by the time the birds’ eggs hatch, the boom has already passed,” Öhman said.

“Feeding is an important support mechanism for the birds that stay in northern Sweden and require food during winter. Demonstrating the use of bird nests and feeding, not just at the Treehotel but for people to install near their own homes, is valuable. an initiative from Treehotel to take such measures may inspire their visitors to do the same.”

Treehotel

The Biosphere is Treehotel’s eighth room, all immersed in the forest landscape. Founded by husband-and-wife team Kent Lindvall and Britta Jonsson-Lindvall, it has worked with renowned Scandinavian architects on its designs that include a giant bird’s nest, a mirrored cube, and a UFO-themed cabin.

“We live here, we love our village, we wanted to earn a living and we looked at what we could do with what we have here,” the founders say. The hotel embraces sustainability throughout, including locally-sourced food for its on-site restaurant.

From September to March, the hotel says guests have the chance to watch the Northern Lights, an offering at another recently announced sustainable luxury hotel in the Arctic, the Octola Private Wilderness in Finland.

At Treethotel in the summertime, daylight extends all night long, which is sure to make for good birdwatching.

A night with the birds at Treehotel’s Biosphere is expected to start at around $1269.

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