Bat Tower is a recently completed project by Buffalo-based architecture and research firm, Ants of the Prairie. The name of the project is neither allusion nor metaphor; the project is actually a tower for bats to live in. Lucky bats-tards. Ants of the Prairie is lead by Joyce Hwang, who describes her interest in the project saying “[s]ince I was a graduate student, I have taken an interest in the constructive relationships between humans and animals, and how we can shape our environment in a beneficial way.” And bats need all the help they can get, as a mysterious illness called White Nose Syndrome threatens bat populations across the northeast.
Hwang describes a few of the features to lure bats: “Located adjacent to a lake, the site boasts an abundance of mosquitoes and other bat-attracting insects. Chives, oregano and other bat-attracting herbs are planted within the base of the tower. To help facilitate entry, the project’s ribbed construction includes a series of ‘landing pads’ near the top of the tower. A pattern of grooves on both vertical and horizontal surfaces allows bats to more easily climb into the tower and cling to its ‘ceilings.’ To provide a suitably warm interior for bat roosting, dark wood panels cover the tower’s inhabitation zone in order to absorb sunlight.”