• Joseph Trace, Brandon Carter-Chan and Nicholas Rowsby

‘As a bird would draw from its immediate surroundings, the folly recycles what lay before to create a nest: nature’s contextual architecture.’

The annual Brick Bay Folly competition started in 2016, open to architecture students and recent graduates of architecture to design and build a folly at Brick Bay. A folly is an experimental structure without specific purpose or restrictions, therefore it can be whimsical, humorous, decorative or boundary-pushing. The Nest is the seventh and most recent Brick Bay Folly winner, opening to the public in May 2022.

Joseph Trace, Brandon Carter-Chan and Nicholas Rowsby - three recent graduates of Auckland University's School of Architecture - submitted their winning entry The Nest in 2021. They designed and built their Folly while navigating the uncertainty of the 2021 lockdowns and were further challenged balancing the completion of the final year of their architecture degrees. The resulting 2022 Folly The Nest 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 witnessing a friendly pīwakawaka (fantail), The Nest references the delicate stacking and weaving of twigs. This creates a seemingly light structure, wrestling with the required stability of an interior that invites engagement and conversation. The weaving of timber forms a structural pattern that provides tiered seating and acts as a nest for people to inhabit. Situated above a lake surrounded by mature exotic and native trees, the subtle use of Resene colours references the colours of the wingspan and tail of the pīwakawaka.

Nicholas Rowsby notes that “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. That's where a lot of the formation of ‘somewhere to rest, somewhere to take your time’ came into the design.”

Sustainability and the global timber shortage was top of mind for the winning team, proposing to recycle the timber from the deconstruction of the preceding Folly, The Wooden Pavilion 2019, and thereby prevent waste, and celebrate an ethos of renewal. This proved to be a painstaking task with the team managing to save and catalogue 797 linear metres of timber, resulting in the Folly being made up of approximately 95% recycled timber.

The project is generously sponsored by Resene and Naylor Love. The project is also supported by Unitec, Cheshire Architects and Brick Bay, with professional photography by Sam Hartnett and publicity from media partner Architecture New Zealand.

The Nest is now open at Brick Bay, to be enjoyed by all visitors.

Learn more about the project and its creators here.

Opening Hours

  • Monday - Friday, 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday - Sunday, 10am - 5pm


  • 17 Arabella Lane
  • Snells Beach 0982