February 2015, Volume 19, Number 1



Creative Ideas Take Flight

Nearly 200 species of breeding birds call Florida home, according to research work from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

To support these feathered friends, MDC Professor Dr. Lyle Culver enlisted 70 students from his architecture history, design and landscape construction classes to create birdhouses for an exhibition at the Deering Estate at Cutler, a 444-acre environmental, archeological and historic preserve along Biscayne Bay.

“Students developed creations based on their own inspirations to accommodate a host of birds,” said Culver of the collaborative effort between Deering Estate and MDC.

The multicolored birdhouses measure up to eight feet in length and height. To construct them, students used reclaimed wood that they found on jobsites and even discarded in dumpsters. Architecture design students such as Manuel Fort put their own unique stamp on the project with the use of bamboo, steel and concrete.

“When designing my birdhouse, I went for big and bold,” said Fort, who is completing an MDC associate degree this year. “Working on the project, I had to design the house with a specific bird in mind. So I chose the blue jay.”

While architecture design students like Fort were asked to make their structures at least five feet tall, those in the architecture history class created smaller birdhouses that were 12 inches in length and height, Culver said.

“The smaller birdhouses featured a particular architect or included a specific historic or architectural reference,” said Culver. “The work is all rich and vibrant.”

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