Launch Slideshow

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for the birds

for the birds

  • Keith Moskow and Robert Linns student design/build program, Studio North, created this sprightly chicken coop.

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    Keith Moskow and Robert Linns student design/build program, Studio North, created this sprightly chicken coop.

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    Courtesy Moskow Linn Architects

    Keith Moskow and Robert Linn’s student design/build program, Studio North, created this sprightly chicken coop.

  • The students refer to the coop as a chicken chapel.

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    The students refer to the coop as a chicken chapel.

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    Courtesy Moskow Linn Architects

    The students refer to the coop as a “chicken chapel.”

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    Courtesy Moskow Linn Architects

    The chicken coop’s pitched roof echoes that of the existing barn behind it.

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    Courtesy Moskow Linn Architects

    Inside, shadows and natural light fall onto an egg-shaped nesting box.

Architects Keith Moskow, FAIA, and Robert Linn believe that hands-on building skills are an important part of an architectural education. “For us and for many people, there can be a disconnect between drawing something and getting out there and building it,” says Moskow, who along with Linn is a principal at Moskow Linn Architects in Boston. So last summer, he and Linn organized a weeklong design/build program for college and graduate students called Studio North. Held on Moskow’s property in Norwich, Vt., the studio had to follow local regulations by building a structure that had an agricultural or forestry use. The group settled on designing a chicken coop to end all chicken coops.

The five selected students gathered at Moskow Linn’s office in June for a design charrette. They reunited a week later in Norwich, ready to build. “We made many decisions on site with the students,” Moskow says. “The design definitely improved.”

The final product is an 8-foot-by-12-foot, wood-and-translucent-plastic building with a pitched, slatted roof. Siding made of site-harvested saplings gives a vaguely wattle-and-daub effect that seems entirely appropriate for the rural setting. And inside the chicken coop, a large oval-shaped box provides individual cubbies where Moskow’s nine Rhode Island Reds can nest in comfort.

Plans for next summer’s 10-student Studio North currently are under way; for more information, visit moskowlinn.wordpress.com.