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