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Brick Bay announces 2022 Folly Project winner

18 May 2022

The seventh and most recent Brick Bay Folly Project winner has now been officially announced.

Three recent graduates of Auckland University’s School of Architecture, Joseph Trace, Brandon Carter-Chan and Nicholas Rowsby managed to design and build their winning folly, The Nest, while navigating the uncertainty of the 2021 lockdowns and balancing the competition with the completion of the final year of their architecture degrees. Their resulting creation is a thought-provoking response to the landscape, resource use and the ever-present climate emergency.

Inspired by a site visit to Brick Bay and the friendly pīwakawaka (fantail) that are common in the area, The Nest references the delicate stacking and weaving of twigs. Its seemingly light structure wrestles with the required stability of an interior that invites engagement and conversation, and the woven timber forms a structural pattern that provides tiered seating – acting as a nest for people to inhabit.

Situated above a lake surrounded by mature exotic and native trees, the subtle use of Resene Waterborne Woodsman timber stain in Resene Banjul, Resene Bleached Riverstone and Resene Timberland reference the colours of the wingspan and tail of the pīwakawaka.

“When we were conceptualising, we always took into mind the beautiful pond that sits in front of our site and how we could frame that beautiful view,” notes Nicholas Rowsby. “That's where a lot of the formation of ‘somewhere to rest, somewhere to take your time’ came into the design. As a bird would draw from its immediate surroundings, the folly recycles what lay before to create a nest: nature’s contextual architecture.”

Sustainability and the global timber shortage were top of mind for the winning team, who proposed to recycle the timber from the deconstruction of a previous folly, The Wooden Pavilion (2019) – thereby preventing waste and celebrating an ethos of renewal. This proved to be a painstaking task, but the team managed to save and catalogue 797 linear metres of timber, resulting in the new design being made up of approximately 95% recycled timber.

The judging panel took note of this effort, too. “In The Nest we are seeing an interesting example of materials as scarce global resources being considered through their whole life cycle,” Judge Pip Cheshire commented.

While it was a difficult one, the experience was also highly valuable for the team – both in terms of the physical construction and project management experience as well as the mentorship they received. “I’ve never really dealt hands-on with building anything, other than helping my dad around the house. For all three of us, completing our first building project that we have designed ourselves, it's just magical,” says Nicholas.

The winning team was not only provided with the financial budget but a professional workshop space, equipment and many hours of donated time from the project mentors – something that was only made possible by generous sponsorship from Resene, Naylor Love, Unitec, Cheshire Architects, Brick Bay, Sam Hartnett Photography and Architecture NOW.

The Nest is now open at Brick Bay to be enjoyed by the public. Find out more on how to see it yourself at the Brick Bay website

imagesSam Hartnett

Published: 18 May 2022