The creative designers at Nendo have wowed us again by creating a tree house for humans that doubles as a sanctuary for nesting birds. This “Bird Apartment” was installed in Komoro City, Japan at the Ando Momofuku Center, whose mission is to promote access to nature. The structure’s design pushes the center’s vision to a whole new level by allowing visitors within the human dwelling to get a spyglass look into each of the 78 bird homes.
Lead by founder Oki Sato, Nendo produces refined, simplified forms that evoke emotion in viewers. In this piece, we see that repeated forms of various shaped pitched roof houses with circular openings are used as entrances for the bird dwellings – a motif refelected in the entrance to the larger human home. By mirroring the form, Nendo appears to be suggesting that the avian homes are as important as the ones inhabited by man.
In order to fully appreciate the tree house, one must climb the long ladder and enter into the circular opening. Once inside, peep holes allow visitors to take a peek into the bird world on the other side of the wall. We’d love to know if the birds are also curiously looking back into the human home!
The interior is stark white, so that there is nothing else to observe in the tree house except for the birds. You can see that the peep holes are arranged all at different heights to allow one for each of the 78 bird homes. The Nendo team shared an early sketch for this concept, where the division between human and bird is represented by a dotted line on the tree house. It is interesting that the final result was to put in peep holes, which encourages the viewer to engage, rather than a sheet of glass like those used at zoos.
Many works by the Nendo team utilize the signature techniques of repetition and impressive scale – see also the decorated walls in this house with repeating patterns made from moss, or this barrel-formed sculpture made from farming nets. These techniques are also at work in the“Bird Apartment” in the grandiose scale and height of the tree house and the repeated pitched roof forms.
The “Bird-Apartment” is secured high up in the trees at the Ando Momofuku Center. It is not at first obvious that the house is resting on top of limbs that were cut level, creating a platform. Since we do not see any trees piercing the interior of the house, it only then is that we realize the illusion, and know that the structure is balanced and secured on top of the tree. Nendo included subtly nuanced colors for the facades of the bird houses – it’s as if they sought to allow the birds individual choices when selecting their nesting place!
Photos by Masaya Yoshimura and Daici Ano