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WI Bucks Arena Dubbed 'Bird Friendly'

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

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The new Milwaukee Bucks Arena—the Fiserv Forum—has been dubbed the first-ever bird-friendly arena.

The $524 million arena recently opened in time for the National Basketball League’s 2018-19 season and is also in the process of being LEED certified—with some credits going to the birds.

The Project

Arena designer Populous reportedly tweaked the design of the glass after organization Bird City Wisconsin talked to the team about the migration path that Milwaukee finds itself in.

Spaluch1, CC-BS-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The new Milwaukee Bucks Arena—the Fiserv Forum—has been dubbed the first-ever bird-friendly arena.

“The Bucks stepped up for birds in a way that no sports franchise ever has," Bryan Lenz, former director of Bird City, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

At certain points in the building’s exterior, glass windows extend form the ground all the way through the swooping roof. For this glass, the design called for a thin ceramic pattern coating, or fritting.

Fritting reduced the transparency just enough that, while seen up close, is not really visible to humans but is visible enough to birds that it signals that the glass is, in fact, a wall.

Officials note that the added fritting did not add to the cost of the arena.

“When glass or other glass-like materials are employed in venue design, it’s vital to balance insulation and reflectivity to create an ideal environment both inside and out, for people and for local wildlife,” said Heather Stewart, Senior Associate at Populous, the architectural design firm used for Fiserv Forum.

“We are proud to hear that other sports venues are looking toward Fiserv Forum as the new standard for bird-friendly design around the globe.”


The 714,000-square-foot multi-use facility, which features a grand entry, intimate seating and open concourses that are covered in a zinc patina exterior, is punctuated by glass cutouts.

“The hand-crafted zinc and glass exterior wraps the energy of a multi-purpose arena full of social gathering spaces and a new public plaza extends the development as a year-round catalyst for the transformation of downtown Milwaukee,” said Brad Clark, senior principal at Populous, which was tapped as the design lead early in 2016 (along with Wisconsin-based firms Eppstein Uhen and HNTB).


Tagged categories: Building envelope; Glass coatings; LEED; Stadiums/Sports Facilities

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