Once a vacant lot 15 years ago, the reclaimed site of the Edible Schoolyard (ESY) in Berkeley, California now supports a thriving edible garden with vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. Alice Waters, founder of the Chez Panisse Foundation, created the Edible Schoolyard to educate and engage urban public school students in the growing, harvesting, and preparation of seasonal produce.
Architects Alex Jermyn, Alex Terry, and Ivan Terry approached the ESY Director to collaborate and build a project for the garden. The team targeted a rambling network of paths as a potential site for an architectural intervention. To provide a clear link between the outdoor classroom, the kitchen, and the rest of the school campus, the Architects envisioned a structure which could serve as both a portal and a contemplative space for the students.
The “Edible Nest” is comprised of continuous steel rods which are interlaced among a series of elliptical steel hoops. The rods are woven into a pattern to provide a passage for the students and a framework for kiwi vines to grow. The appearance of the Nest is tied to the vines’ growth over the seasons becoming more open during the dormant winter season and then more enclosed in the leafy summer months. Students will harvest its fruits as they do with other edibles in the garden.