Nendo Presents the Treehouse for Birdwatching Peeping Toms

The edgy, experimental Japanese designers bring birds and voyeurs closer than ever before.

Oh, a girl's gotten into the birdhouse again.

This “Bird-Apartment” is part Swiss Family Robinson, part “Rear Window”: while one side holds 78 separate nesting spaces for our feathered friends to roost, the other has a single circular entrance for humans to enter. The voyeuristic aspect is the wall that divides the two. It’s punctuated by peepholes, making zealous birdwatchers privy to what happens when birds stop being polite and start getting real.

This hybrid apartment complex is nestled high in the trees of Komoro City’s Momofuku Ando Center (that’s a nature reserve in Japan, not a noodle bar in the East Village), which couples its mission of eco-education with sophisticated design. In 2010, the center tapped masters of wooden architecture Kengo Kuma & Associates to build their outdoor training center. The steeply sloping roof/walls and natural materials smoothly integrate themselves into the picturesque mountainside, but this one’s just for people. Sorry, Tweetie.

— Janelle Zara