Build A Better Birdhouse: Part 3

In the last article about building a better birdhouse my homework was to determine the best physical attributes of a good birdhouse.† Todayís homework is a lot more enjoyable, yet much more difficult: choosing a design direction.

Creative people know that aesthetics, design, style—these are elusive, fickle and subjective things. To make matters worse, people who have never studied or practiced creativity with any rigor:

  • Think they know everything about good design.
  • Always end up being the decision maker
  • Feel fine with making decisions based on logic like this:
    1. ìDonít make it brown! My ex-boyfriend drove a brown Mercedes.
    2. I want more curves; just like my bulldog, Binky.
    3. It should be Rococo! Hell, I just like saying, ëRococoí. Letís change the name to Rococo-something.
Molcajete: An example of Simple Design
The simple molcajete; a Mexican mortar and pestle made of lava rock.

No matter how farfetched the design proposed, there must be some rational to justify the way something should be created. Ducks have webbed feet for a reason. A violin has two holes in the body shaped like this   ƒ intentionally. In the same way my birdhouse design will have design constraints based on how the project should be successful.

Enough theory.†

Public Design: The latest New York City Bus Shelters
One of the 3,300 new bus shelters in New York City. (Designed by Cemusa) These shelters do a great job of being beautiful while also being strong, anonymous and low priority to vandals.

For this birdhouse Iím proposing three parameters to guide the design:

Cadillac: Urban Luxury Concept Car
A Cadillac concept car with modern flair and distinctive styling.
  1. Simple
  2. Public
  3. Modern


†A simple design means an easier build. If anyone can build it then it will be more readily adopted. A simple design can mean a safer birdhouse with less complicated parts to confuse, harm or invite harm to its inhabitants. A simple birdhouse if done correctly, will have less material costs and be easier to recycle. Simple designs can also elicit positive feelings from humans. This can discourage vandalism and possibly discourage theft.


The final birdhouse will be displayed in a public environment. It will be exposed to plants, weather, animals and humans.† Human made public fixtures have to contain strength, and anonymity. They have to a certain amount of blandness and diminishing returns to discourage theft and vandalism. Public items have to look like they are only good for their intended use. The birdhouse has to look like it belongs in public. If it’s too alluring, dainty or striking it will be quickly stolen by humans or aliens from space.


If we stopped at the first two attributes we could just present the original birdhouse and call it a day. Many of you; even the voices in my own head say,

ìDude, when you get done with all your artsy bullshit, youíre gonnaí end up with the same damn birdhouse the boy scouts built.”

This is why modern is so important. Successful contemporary for this birdhouse will make it look attractive, intelligent or sophisticated and hopefully professional. My ultimate goal would be when visitors see it in place like the Hilltop Reserve they will immediately get a sense that the people behind this nature preserve are dead-serious about helping nature; not hindering it like we usually do. —put the volleyball and BBQ grill back in the car; bring the camera and an empty trash-bag instead.† Leash up Binky the bulldog while youíre at it.

I realize this is a tall order.† Weíre talking about a birdhouse, right?† Can something that small accommodate all those constraints?† Weíll have to see. In the next post Iíd like to display some design concepts. I think it will also be worthwhile to continue to ask for help from experts. Pursuing them to help me with content and the wisdom/feedback they have provided has been almost more rewarding that creating new content for this website.† Stay tuned.
Build A Better Birdhouse: Part 1
Build A Better Birdhouse: Part 2
March 5, 2013|Posted in IDEAS, PROJECTS, THINGS|Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment|Permalink to Build A Better Birdhouse: Part 3Trackback URL for this item

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One Comment

  1. Hey Ron, I lost your email and wanted to get in touch. We did not see many bird houses in Japan but we saw some of the most beautiful things. Thanks for all your help it made our trip even better. Annie and Mark (from the plane from SF) Annie Mladinich July 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm

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