Happy Hens: A Light-Filled Chicken Chapel
Studio North in Norwich, Vermont, offers students from around the country an opportunity to engage with the rural landscape and to imagine, develop and construct inventive design solutions. This year five students, led by architects Keith Moskow and Robert Linn of Boston-based Moskow Linn Architects, designed this wonderful Chicken Chapel for a 117-acre farm in Norwich.
During a day-long charrette with Moskow and Linn, students threw out ideas, sketched designs and built a study model of the airy, light-filled chicken coop. Many of the construction details were worked out on site.
“The chicken chapel is designed to sit lightly on the land,” Moskow says. “Diffuse light creates an ever-changing environment. In the evening the structure glows like a Japanese lantern.”
The chapel is a single space for a growing flock. A human-scaled door on the north end allows for servicing the coop, while a chicken-scaled door on the south side allows the birds free range. A nesting box inside creates a secondary enclosure where the chickens will build nests and lay eggs, and a multi-level roost allows for additional livestock to cohabitate in the structure.
The wood frame is lined with translucent fiberglass to keep out inclement weather but let in light and warmth. Sugar maple poles, sustainably harvested on site, create a “wattle,” which without the “daub” filters sunlight and creates a protective enclosure for the chickens.
The 8-foot-by-12-foot chapel is constructed of standard framing stock with nominal sizes to minimize waste. Side walls are 8 feet high, truss legs are 8 feet and roof strapping is 16 feet. The structure is designed to be prefabricated so that it can be replicated in other locations. Materials cost $3,000.