Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Gropius Coop (for a new WAD reader)

So I got an email a couple of weeks ago from Jon, who lives in a house designed by members of Walter Gropius' office The Architects' Collaborative.  Jon wants to get four chickens and build a coop for them himself on his historically significant and sacred property, so his chicken coop can't be a) huge, b) glaring and obscene, c) hard to build, and d) cutesy-pie.  While looking for a Modern chicken coop design, he stumbled across my tripe of a blog.  Bless his heart.

So he found this post and or this post and/or this post about starchitects' chicken coops, and he emailed me with his sketches of the coop he'd like to build.  May I say that it was a good sketch, and with a little staring at it over a cup of tepid coffee, I figured out what he was trying to do.  What I got from Jon's sketches is that something the size of a 4'x8' sheet of plywood is about as big as he wants to handle, but the coop also needs to be off the ground and have defensible space, what with the small predators around his house.

I asked Jon if I could try to do my own sketch for his Bauhaus-inspired coop, and to my delight he said yes.  So, here's my Brrkhaus.

The exterior includes lap siding and a cantilevered roof made of two 4'x8' sheets of plywood and a little wooden trim on the edges.  To match Jon's house, I've included two 2x4s standing on end as a vertical element to allude to Jon's chimney.  4x4s support the chicken wire that makes up the chicken run.  I can't decide if I should include some more lap siding along the far end of the run to evoke Jon's house as well.  (Jon, can I put your house on WAD?  It's so completely awesome, and your photo of it does it justice.)  Strip windows on one or both long sides allows light in, and a sliding panel allows Jon access to the eggs.  Let's have a look inside, shall we? 

 Inside, we can see the 4x4 columns (at the edges of the structure, no less--go Mies!) and the 2x4s providing lateral support and a material for tacking the chicken wire floor to the building.  The underpinning panel flips up toward the outside and will allow Jon to rake the poo out from under it.  The sliding panel at the bottom of the occupiable enclosure slides up and is held up by a hook (or something, I haven't worked it out yet), which allows Jon to get eggs from the nests without bugging the hens too much.

I'm wondering about the dimensions I'm showing on the drawings.  Kitty, when you get back from Nash Vegas, would you mind commenting on how big Jon's coop should be for four chickens?  I'm thinking it should be around 3'x7' max.


Wilderness Gina said...

Where to start. 4 chix will need more like 6 x 8. Roosting places, statium seating so to speak. Shy away from anything sliding. Unless he lives in Colorado, moisture will cause anything you can afford to swell and NOT slide. Keep in mind this space is not climate, moisture, or insect controlled. Flies are a problem. If wood somes in contact with the ground, termites are a problem. At least in most of the country. Is he going to want to be able to walk into the house? What kind of roofing is it going to have? You'll need at least 3on12 if you use regular shingles. A metal roof can handle as low as 1on12. Does he have to worry about Red Tail hawks? Hear in Bum-Fuck-GA they have like 8 or 10 chix in a 8 to 10 foot square coop, with what looks like an 8 foot ceiling in it. My sister in Michigan and her husband have boo-coo chix and a 10 foot square coop with saplings statium style inside.
I suppose he could make the feeder separate from the nesting boxes. Like scaled down feeders for cows. And boxes off the ground with chiken ladders? How cold does it get where he is? Do chix need heat in winter? Lots of talk about.

Miss Kitty said...

That is the most awesome chikin house I have ever seen. EVAR.

Jon: Backyard Poultry magazine is a great place to begin your decision-making process on design considerations. For instance, I've decided on a deep-litter system since I have only a few chickens, and my new/old coop will have plenty of cross-ventilation. It doesn't get very cold down here in Georgia, so all I'll have for heat is an infrared bulb in a hanging fixture. May add a fan, not yet sure.

The Brrkhaus is AWESOME. Take it to AIA!

Miss Kitty said...

And for four chikinz...3'x7' should be all right. It also needs to be big enough for Jon to step inside and clean it out.

Where are the chikinz in your drawings who are doing interesting things, like falling in love with their new coop, or pecking at the ground, or crowing? Brkbrkbrkbrkbrkb'GOCK!

dissed said...

Love the way it looks. I would want a bit more space; the coop will have to be cleaned, and 3' doesn't leave much elbow room.