Wired.com’s Weekly Picks of Stunning Architecture: Aqua Tower, Chicago

Aqua Tower, ChicagoReflective glass makes a beautiful facade, but it can be deadly for birds, which often can’t tell the glass from the sky or trees it reflects. Studio Gang Architects designed their Aqua Tower with that in mind: the undulating concrete terraces not only provide balcony space for residents, but help restrict the angle the reflections can be seen from. Railings and glass made with a small amount of ceramic in it help break the reflections up further, making the 859-foot tower, completed in 2010, exemplary for bird safety, according to both the American Bird Conservancy and PETA. But it’s not just about the birds. The swells and flares, based on striated limestone formations, also shade apartments from the sun and help protect against wind, all while maintaining a square footprint.

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