In the middle of designing a synagogue for a nonprofit, architect Stephen Cassell of the NYC-based Architecture Reseach Office (ARO) received what sounds like an unrefusable request. As the New York Times tells it, a board member approached Cassell and asked, "Would you be interested in designing a really modern chicken coop?" (As opposed to a Versailles-inspired chicken coop.) Cassell agreed, and plunged right into researching the needs and habits of well-bred chickens. Working with ARO colleagues, Cassell ultimately delivered this aluminum-clad chicken coop, a structure that Dwell has called "a mini avian Airstream."
At sixty square feet and six feet high, the modern coop lives behind a refurbished farmhouse in the Hamptons. When asked what kind of needs he had to satisfy for his chicken clients, Cassell told the Times:
A lot of it is common sense, but wouldn't have been intuitive for me. Things like making sure the chickens are safe from predators in a fenced-in area. Making sure there isn't too much exposed concrete so they don't hurt themselves. Cassell and team designed three different versions, one of which was apparently a Brutalist coop, of "poured-form concrete, very sculptural," but in the end they chose a different direction. Cassell's coop has "radiant floor heating" and bent aluminum shingles. ARO took on the work pro bono so they could "just enjoy it."