Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Chicken Chapel

Since I brought chickens into my life, I went through a period of being interested in all thing fowl (ok, it's not really over yet). But the reason I first got in touch with MoskowLinn Architects was not because of chickens. It was because of the material they used in a very unique set of structures they designed. Of course, it was the design that got me first.

I don't have a credit for these photos and I'm taking liberties here. I'm going to guess it's okay since Keith (the Moskow of MoskowLinn), asked me to spread the word about them, which I'm very happy to do (nope, they aren't paying me to do this). They want a reason to work on Culebra!

As it turns out, the product, Sun-Lite HP is pretty pricey, but very nice, as you can tell from the photos. Comparing it to anything remotely like it, it isn't as expensive as some of them, one a mind staggering 450.00 for a sheet about the size of a panel of plywood. It's all relative. 

In his email back to me he told me he has come to Rincon every year for the past 20 years to surf and that his partner and family have stayed on Culebra for holiday as well. He also shared some other projects they've done and one of them, a huge surprise, had me a little dizzy with lust. I'm using the descriptions from the online magazine Dwell (so now I'm officially a thief, please have the bail ready).

The final structure measures eight feet wide, 12 feet long and eight feet high to the tops of the side walls. One end of the coop is scaled to chickens and the other, the one shown in the foreground, is scaled for humans to allow easy access for gathering eggs and cleaning the coop.
Beyond the awesomeness of the coop itself is how it came into being. One of the yearly student projects they host, it was built on Keith's farm in Vermont. Another student project was the most eye pleasing pig sty I've ever seen. You can find it here.

In July, the students, Moskow, and Linn gathered in Norwich, Vermont, where the studio was held and where Moskow lives with his family on 117 acres of farmland. The decided-upon structure was designed to mimic the surroundings. "We wanted it to feel like something special but for it also to be a very good neighbor to the barn," Linn says. The coop shares the same roof slope as the barn and aligns with one of its sides.

Inside the coop is an egg-shape roosting box. Chickens won't lay eggs if their nesting boxes are on the ground so one student had the idea of a hovering egg, Linn says. "When you're on the outside looking in," he adds, "you see a profile of the big egg and it's almost like of a sign of what's going on inside." Looking out, the fiberglass material that creates the walls distorts the look of the sugar maple poles on the exterior. "You get these beautiful textures and shadows that come through," Linn says.
 A hovering egg. It's almost too cute but I still really like it. 

The entire structure takes on the look of a Japanese lantern in the evening. The team added lights so you could go in and be able to see where you are at night and also so that come late fall and winter, Moskow can turn them on after the sun sets to maintain the chicken's waking, eating, and egg-laying hours even as the days shorten.

Simple, elegant lines and absolutely functional. What more does anyone need in any structure? I really, really like their work, even though I'm usually drawn to the rustic, the old, the slightly almost falling down look and that was the surprise of it. To open up to something with clean straight lines, but incorporating other architectural styles, particularly Japanese, that have always seemed right to me. Clean, simple, useful. 

Of course, as I wrote to Keith, I'm not sure I wouldn't turn out the chickens into the shack and live in the coop myself...

See you when you get here, Moskow and Linn!

Have a take on a new tradition Thursday. Do something teachable.


  1. But chickens DO lay eggs on the ground, if they're wild chickens!

    source rdancke

    1. Yes, they do, but that's only because they don't have a nice nest in a tree ;)