On November 22, 2014 UC Berkeley Architecture students held the opening ceremony for their project, Nest We Grow, in Taiki-cho, Hokkaido, Japan.

Team members Hsiu-Wei Chang, Hsin-Yu Chen, Max Edwards, Fanzheng Dong, Yan Huang and Baxter Smith won the 4th LIXIL International University Architectural Competition in Tokyo in April for their design of a holistic community garden that bonds the public to the cyclical nature of food. To accomplish this, they created spaces in the building that reflected the various phases of harvesting, cooking, dining and composting.

“All members of the community help to complete each stage, allowing the structure to become a platform for group learning and community gathering activities throughout the year,” student-leader, Hsiu-Wei Chang, explains. Chang, who graduated in May 2014, says that his prior experience working on post-disaster reconstruction in Taiwan helped guide the team through the different phases of construction.

Nest We Grow is a kind of harmony between architecture and nature—both of which inspired the idea behind the Nest,” he adds. After winning the competition, the students traveled to Japan where they oversaw the completion of the structure in just three months.

Chang credits teamwork for the speedy construction of the building. With the help of the project architects, structural engineers and contractors, the students were able to create the garden of their dreams — which even includes a composting toilet. Chang hopes that the structure will help “people become closer to the creation and consumption of food.”

Once the snow melts in Hokkaido during the spring, the community will be able to enjoy the symbiotic nature of the Nest. “Our team feels responsible, and now more capable, to better shape the world,” Chang says. See the Berkeley Environmental Design website for a great slideshow of the garden.

Architecture students stand in front of vertical garden building design
Architecture students completed the holistic garden, Nest We Grow, in Hokkaido, Japan.