Architecture Reseach Office's 60-square-foot chicken coop streamlines a Hamptons backyard.
Architect Stephen Cassell of Architecture Research Office (ARO) says his practice thrives on diversity, and that all architects should work on the occasional fun project. So when he was approached with the chance to design a chicken coop for the backyard of a Hamptons vacation home, the "sheer ridiculousness" of the project made it irresistible. "This was probably the most architectural brain power ever devoted to the problem" of housing chickens, says Cassell. After extensive research and thought exercises ("What if Breuer created a poured-concrete coop?), Cassell and designer Ethan Feuer fashioned a rustic, curved shelter of bent aluminum shingles—an edgy, 60-square-foot avian Airstream. Since the structure was constructed this past summer, ARO has already received requests to design more. "We made a project that works well for the birds, that's our obligation," says Cassell. "The owner was really excited and kept sending iPhone photos of the construction and chicks going in the coop. It's not often you have photos of a bunch of chicks in an architecture office."