Solina, Poland

The Project

Project: Solina observation tower and gondola station
Client: PKL and PFR Groups

The Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, hailed the opening of a new observation tower and gondola lift in the Bieszczady Mountains as an investment that will strengthen the magnetism of Solina, a major tourist hotspot.

At the opening, Morawiecki remarked how Solina is a beautiful place where nature is untouched by the human hand*. The picturesque holiday destination in South East Poland is famous for its forest-covered peaks and vast open water, home to the largest artificial lake in the country.

These surroundings make Solina equally as popular with birds as it is for tourists. The area is home to 130 species of birds, including eagles, hawks, sparrowhawks, smews, black terns and songbirds; while also being located on a main migratory route.

Protecting Solina’s bird population was therefore a top priority for the two groups behind the tourist attraction, the PKL Group (Polish Cableways), which provide sustainable mountain tourism services, and the PFR Group (The Polish Development Fund), a state-owned financial group which invests in sustainable social development, who paid close attention to the needs of bird species throughout the design and construction phases.

They turned to specialist glass for the gondola station and the observation tower to help protect its feathered neighbours.

Glass designed to protect birds

Pilkington AviSafe™, an innovative glass designed to protect birds, was specified for the project’s glazing. Its unique patterned UV enhanced coating disrupts the reflection on the glass, helping birds to see a clear barrier.

Jason Eggerton, UK specifications manager at Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, part of the NSG Group, explained: “Experts distinguish three effects leading to birds colliding with glass.

“The mirror effect is where birds mistake the glass’ reflection as reality. Corners of buildings or narrow passageways can also lead to collisions as they allow birds to see the habitat on the other side of the building. Thirdly, the fly-through effect is where birds may also not see the transparent barrier and aim to fly into a building to a perching spot, such as within an atrium.

“The gondola station and observation tower are surrounded by forests making bird collisions due to reflections of the trees a particular risk. Ultimately Pilkington AviSafe™ disrupts these reflections making the glass more visible”

The coating is designed on the principle that birds see in a different light range to people, making Pilkington AviSafe™ glass more visible to birds while remaining aesthetically appealing on the exterior surface. From the inside however, it’s barely visible to the human eye.

It was used in the large, modern glass facades of the gondola station in combination with Pilkington Suncool™ 70/35 and Pilkington Optilam™ glass, which ensures effective thermal insulation, solar control and safety.

The Pilkington AviSafe™ glass was manufactured at the Merseyside  manufacturing site of Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, part of the NSG Group, in St Helens.

Jason Eggerton continued: “Making buildings truly sustainable goes beyond emissions and energy efficiency. Architects and specifiers increasingly need to consider how their projects impact local wildlife too.

“Pilkington AviSafe™ has clear value amidst nature reserves, forests and mountains in Solina. But many of the world’s major cities are located on bird migratory paths, where tall, glazed buildings can increase the chance of collisions.

“We’re proud to support a project of such high prestige and economic significance in Poland, and to play our part helping Solina’s tourism industry to maintain its minimal impact on nature and local wildlife.”

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Project Details
Surface Area
1 200 m²
38-610 Solina, Poland
Opening Date
Building Type
  • Public
  • Museums and Cultural Building
Polskie Koleje Linowe
About the Architect/Installer
Biuro projektowe ANTEMIO - Kraków
Benefit Led Categories
  • Safety Security
  • Solar Control
  • Special Applications