Photo: CED graduates (l-r) Baxter Smith (M.Arch ‘16), Hsin-yu Chen (M.Arch ‘17), and Yan Huang (M.Arch ‘16) pose with Jürg Zumtobel at the Zumtobel Group Award Cermeony on March 19, 2018 at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt.
Three UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design alumni were awarded honorable mentions in Zumtobel Group Award’s young professional category for their “Nest We Grow — House of Food, for Food” project in Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture.
The Nest We Grow project originated as an award-winning submission to the 2014 LIXIL International Student Architecture Competition. The competition challenges university research and design teams to address a yearly environmental prompt. In 2014, UC Berkeley’s team of Hsin-yu Chen (M.Arch ‘17), Yan Huang (M.Arch ‘16), Baxter Smith (M.Arch ‘16), Hsiu-Wei Chang (M.Arch '14), and Fanzheng Dong (M.Arch '14) were awarded first place for their “Nest We Grow” submission addressing the theme “Productive Garden ─ A Space for Enjoying Hokkaido with All Five Senses.”
The Nest sits within Memu Meadows, an architecture and urban development testing ground in the Hokkaido prefecture that serves as a building incubator and gathering place for researchers and architects from around the world.
In May 2014, the Berkeley team arrived in Japan, and in cooperation with Kengo Kuma and Associates, began undertaking the practical execution of their proposal. The team collaborated with local residents to create a community hub for locally produced food.
About the “Nest We Grow” project
The Berkeley group constructed the community space over a period of six months, appealing to all five senses through the building’s emphasis on food production, ventilation, dining and framing natural vistas. Transparent roofing and facade materials provide year-round ample light for the Nest’s growing areas and its ground floor kitchen, while sliding panels facilitate natural air movement throughout the building during the summer and warmer parts of the day. A tea platform on the upper level allows cross ventilation in the summer and thermal mass warmth in the winter.
A porous and concrete ecowall at the base of the building creates a micro-topography that helps block the prevailing northwest winter wind. The wall contains soil within various openings along the sides and top to grow a multitude of crops. The funnel-shaped roof harvests rain water and snow melt, which is collected and stored in tanks to irrigate the crops planted in the concrete wall. On the third and fourth level, planter boxes are arranged in which local vegetables are grown.
The distinct shape signifies the building’s ability to transport natural infrastructure supplies in the form of air, water and light into the Nest. The building consists of a composite timber construction, compressing small pieces of wood to generate a larger column. Local carpentry practices and the Japanese material market influenced building technique.
About the Zumtobel Group Award
The biennial “Zumtobel Group Award – Innovations for Sustainability and Humanity in the Built Environment” is an architectural award that acts as a stimulus for new developments and concepts in the built environment that help meet current and future demands for improved urban living conditions and energy needs.
The Zumtobel Group Award was first presented in 2007. Since then, a total of nine projects have been awarded first place, while 36 projects have earned nominations. Today, it ranks among the most respected awards in the world of architecture. For full details, visit zumtobel-group-award.com.