Nest Factory

[Image: A swiftlet nesting house in Thailand; photo by Alexander S. Heitkamp, courtesy of Wikipedia].

"This drab, windowless concrete facade does not conceal an electricity substation, data servers, or a high security detention center," Nicola Twilley writes over at GOOD. It is, instead, a living birds' nest factory, an emerging building type that has "spread across Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and even Cambodia, towering above traditional one-story structures and transforming the urban landscape." Their purpose? To foster the production of swiftlet nests, used in Chinese bird's nest soup.

Nicola explains that these nest farms are, in effect, surrogate geological formations: "the buildings are intended to mimic caves," she writes, where the swiftlets would normally live, "with a carefully spaced matrix of wooden rafters replacing the ledges and crannies of a cave ceiling, and detailed attention paid to internal temperature, humidity, and even sound."

They are, in effect, part of what could be called a saliva industry, as the nests are made from swiftlet saliva. A spitshop, say, instead of a sweatshop. Mechanize this one step further, and full-scale 3D saliva-printing might not be far off...

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3 Comments:

Anonymous kevin said...

Love this topic. Came upon this fantastic link when looking at the 'ghosts' of the speculative building boom in Bangkok (pre-1997 crisis):
http://blogzone-allzone.blogspot.com/2008/04/33-bird-condo.html

Speculation begets speculation begets speculation...

January 28, 2011 11:38 AM  
OpenID prometheusgonewild said...

Reminds me a bit of a bridge that was built a few years ago that had spans which were just the right distance from one another that bats started living there in huge numbers.
Of course that was by accident....

February 05, 2011 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Jamie in Phuket said...

There's one of these close to one of my favourite restaurants where I live in Phuket, your post reminded me ... can be a bit smelly if you are downwind of it. Your post reminded me, I was thinking to go there and ask to get some photos for my Phuket blog.

February 09, 2011 10:17 PM  

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