ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwidethe world's most visited architecture website

Sign up now and start saving and organizing your favorite architecture projects and photos


Find the most inspiring products for your projects in our Product Catalog.


Get the ArchDaily Chrome Extension and be inspired with every new tab. Install here »

  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Public Architecture
  4. Japan
  5. College of Environmental Design UC Berkeley
  6. 2014
  7. Nest We Grow / College of Environmental Design UC Berkeley + Kengo Kuma & Associates

Nest We Grow / College of Environmental Design UC Berkeley + Kengo Kuma & Associates

  • 01:00 - 29 January, 2015
Nest We Grow / College of Environmental Design UC Berkeley + Kengo Kuma & Associates
Nest We Grow  / College of Environmental Design UC Berkeley  + Kengo Kuma & Associates, © Shinkenchiku-sha
© Shinkenchiku-sha

© Shinkenchiku-sha © Shinkenchiku-sha © Shinkenchiku-sha © Shinkenchiku-sha +36

  • Design Team

    Hsiu Wei Chang, Hsin- Yu Chen, Fenzheng Dong, Yan Xin Huang, Baxter Smith (Instructors: Dana Buntrock, Mark Anderson)
  • Project supervisor

    Kengo Kuma & Associates, Takumi Saikawa
  • Structural Engineer

    Masato Araya
  • Mechanical Engineer

    Tomonari Yashiro Laboratory at the Institute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo / Bumpei Magori, Yu Morishita
  • Contractor

    Takahashi Construction Company
  • More SpecsLess Specs
© Shinkenchiku-sha
© Shinkenchiku-sha

From the architect. In response to an international design-build competition, our team proposed a quintessentially Californian approach embracing many ideas still new to Asia, from where most of us hail. These Californian ideas formed into Nest we Grow, which grew from a shared interest in the materials that make up our build environment with a focus on renewable materials.

Sectional Perspective
Sectional Perspective

Nest We Grow won the 4th Annual LIXIL International design-build competition in 2014, and unlike structures built in the first years of the competition, it is an open, public structure. Its main intent is to bring people in the community together to store, prepare and enjoy local foods in the setting of Hokkaido, Japan.

© Shinkenchiku-sha
© Shinkenchiku-sha

Our team of graduate students, comprised of two Taiwanese, two Chinese, and one American, sought to examine what structural and material elements we could combine to create this community and food oriented space. We recognized how modest materials and actions are celebrated in Berkeley and wanted to explore their implications in Asia.

© Shinkenchiku-sha
© Shinkenchiku-sha

Our initial research started with techniques we find readily in California, including rammed- earth walls and straw bale construction. We presented these ideas in pursuit of a building that would introduce renewable building techniques to an area of Japan that could take advantage of these concepts. What we found was an appreciation for the difficulty of applying transnational technology in a new environment.

© Shinkenchiku-sha
© Shinkenchiku-sha

We also focused on a heavy timber construction technique coming from the US, which uses large sections of wood. In Japan this translated to the composite column, which uses smaller pieces of wood to generate a larger column. It took considerable effort to identify a way to join materials, which was influenced by both local carpentry practices and the Japanese material market. We were also under a considerable time constraint with the entire building process taking only six months to complete.

© Shinkenchiku-sha
© Shinkenchiku-sha

The wood frame structure mimics the vertical spatial experience of a Japanese larch forest from which food is hung to grow and dry. A tea platform in the middle of the nest creates a gathering space where the community can visually and physically enjoy food around a sunken fireplace. Local foods make up the elevation of the Nest as people see the food forest floating above the landform.

Diagram 7
Diagram 7

The wall at the base of the building, in addition to creating a micro topography, helps to block the prevailing northwest winter wind. The Nest takes advantage of the transparent plastic corrugated sheets on the façade and roof, allowing light in for the plants, and heating the space during colder months, extending the usability of the Nest.

© Shinkenchiku-sha
© Shinkenchiku-sha

Sliding panels in the façade and roof open to facilitate air movement through the structure during the summer and warmer parts of the day. The tea platform sits up into the Nest, keeping it in the warm air created by the skin during the colder months, and in a cross ventilated area during the warm summer months.

Diagram 6
Diagram 6

The openness of the façade allows the building to incorporate the surrounding natural environment into the interior climate, but can also be closed off to create a buffer between the two. The funnel-shaped roof harvests rain water and snow melt. The collected water is delivered to tanks that are then used to irrigate the plants in the concrete wall. The shape signifies the Nest’s ability to bring nature in the form of air, water and light into the Nest.

© Shinkenchiku-sha
© Shinkenchiku-sha

The program of the Nest is decided according to the life cycle of these local foods: growing, harvesting, storing, cooking/dining, and composting, which restarts the cycle. All members of the community help to complete each stage, allowing the structure to become a platform for group learning and gathering activities in the Nest throughout the year. Community participation extends and completes the life cycle of local foods, which is a symbiotic relationship. This is the time-line of people and food in the Nest, and this is the Nest for people and food.

© Shinkenchiku-sha
© Shinkenchiku-sha
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Nest We Grow / College of Environmental Design UC Berkeley + Kengo Kuma & Associates" 29 Jan 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


sc · February 07, 2017

Nice project! Does anyone know how to make the perspective section drawing? Was it done in revit, archicad?

rm · March 18, 2015

how lovely structures can be, when they aren't accessible to the disabled or built to american codes. sigh.

Bill · March 19, 2015 02:20 PM

It's a college project - it has to be simple. Practising architects have the ability and skill to include accessibility into the beauty of a structure.

Lulu · February 08, 2015

The dead fish combined with human talent was a sad sight. So much unconscious
Aggression towards innocent being.

Elizabeth · March 23, 2015 01:32 AM

Lulu, I'm sorry to see that the hanging fish make you sad. But fish has been an integral part of the diet in Japan throughout history. I take the sight of the fish as a bow to the traditions of the place in which the building was sited.

Milad · February 06, 2015

This has to be the most beautiful structure I've seen in a long time. So refreshing. It brings such a warm feeling knowing that students designed this.

ds · February 03, 2015

beauty in its simplest form is structure clear to behold and essential to rise from the earth into this very inspiring space.

Dombo · February 02, 2015

A welcome relief from starchitecture

phil · January 30, 2015

i think this looks really cool! BUT this appears to be in the middle of a field, far from end-users. why would a farmer, whether they are close by or farther away, want to drive his goods here, pay to use the space, and then find that he has to drive them elsewhere to sell them to people?

like i said, as a hub, this works in a city, where the final destination corresponds with the end-user marketplace, but in the landscape, this is likely going to be under-used. most farms have smaller versions of this on site, directly adjacent to their individual field, where they process and take directly to be sold.

if i'm missing something, let me know.

Dana Buntrock · March 06, 2015 01:41 PM

The building is part of a collection of buildings at a corporate retreat. Folks who are there have a few other places they can just hang out, but this one is open and easy. There is no charge or prior arrangement needed to use it.

Valod · January 29, 2015


HeywoodFloyd · January 29, 2015

Beautiful project. The form is contemporary and dynamic without being tectonically incomprehensible like the majority of starchitect crap posted on the internet these days. The materiality and construction detailing are interesting and logical. The spatial sequence is rich, the program is socially conscious. My one complaint would be the pounded dirt ground floor, but other than that this seems to be a raging success for a grad student design build project. Well done!

J · January 29, 2015 11:22 PM

I actually find the soil ground very appororiate. It's almost refreshing

J · January 29, 2015 11:21 PM

I cannot agree more here! The scale is just absolutely fantastic!


Comments are closed

Read comments
© Shinkenchiku-sha

成长的巢居 / College of Environmental Design UC Berkeley + Kengo Kuma & Associates