Wherever a disaster has destroyed local housing.

A two-bedroom, single-family house that can serve as temporary or permanent housing and can survive a repeat disaster.

Nest House, designed by San Francisco-based Naylor & Chu Architects, is a prefabricated, rapidly deployable housing unit that can be transported inside a single shipping container or semi-trailer truck. The units can be stacked for storage or transport.

Once the unit arrives on site, a pier foundation (which comes in the container) is laid with manually driven cross-pins that stabilize it in case of high winds or earthquake aftershocks. The house is removed from the container and placed on the foundation, and an insulated, cast-fiberglass shell with an aluminum structure is pulled out from the main wood-clad volume like a matchbox and locked in place, creating a living space nearly double the width of the transport container it arrived in. A porch is folded down, adding an outdoor living space to the unit, which has two bedrooms bookending a bath and common living/kitchen/dining area.

"The idea of fabricated [disaster] housing has never really emerged as a viable possibility," Lars Lerup said. "But there's something very nice about this project that suggests we are moving into that phase." The jury was impressed by the design's ingenuity and the fact that it provides a viable alternative to FEMA trailers, but the jurors would've liked the project to address the urban fabric between the units. "That needs as much attention as the building itself," said Jeanne Gang.

Project Credits
Project: Nest House, Disaster Areas Worldwide
Client: Private Developer
Architect: Naylor & Chu Architects, San Francisco—Russ Naylor, Heddie Chu (partners); Andrew Volckens (senior designer)