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更新时间:2015-3-16 8:27:06 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Eggs Are Happy, Too

While working on the design of a synagogue for a nonprofit organization, Stephen Cassell, a partner in Architecture Research Office, the New York firm, was approached by a board member.

纽约公司“建筑设计研究办工室”(Architecture Research Office,ARO)的合伙人斯蒂芬·卡塞尔(Stephen Cassell) 在为某个非盈利组织设计犹太教堂时,一名董事会的成员向他走了过来。

“The board member said, ‘I have a strange question: Would you be interested in designing a really modern chicken coop?’ ” Mr. Cassell said. “How could we say no to that?”


Two views of the coop.

He didn’t. And after reading books from the 1960s and ’70s on building what Mr. Cassell called “hippie how-to chicken coops,” the architect and his colleagues at ARO, including Ethan Feuer, a designer, set about building an aesthetically compelling coop.

他当然没有。在翻阅了一些20世纪60年代至70年代、被卡塞尔称为“嬉皮士鸡舍入门”的书籍后,这位建筑师和他在ARO的同事们,包括设计师伊桑·福伊尔(Ethan Feuer),开始动手建造一座美轮美奂的鸡舍。

“Part of it was just trying to understand how this would work,” Mr. Cassell said. “The little thing is 60 square feet. How do you approach it from a design standpoint?”


Their coop features radiant floor heating, a metal roof with folded shingle edges that create patterns of shade and discrete easy-access doors to collect the eggs and empty the manure. Completed last summer, the six-foot-high coop now sits in the Hamptons (where else?) behind the client’s farmhouse — although you could argue that Mr. Cassell’s real clients were the chickens. The architect spoke by phone about taking high-design down to the farm. (This interview has been edited and condensed.)


Q. Did you know anything about chicken coops before starting this? Ever been in one?


A. I’m from Brooklyn. So, no. Well, I have an old family friend, a friend of my parents. He was a photographer who had all these varieties of chickens. I remember seeing his chicken coop years ago.


But for all of our projects, we do a fair amount of research. What’s going to work? What are the parameters? How do you design this in a way that’s not just an aesthetic function?


It has to be functional, in other words.


Yes. Form follows fowl.


What did you learn about existing coop design?


Some chicken coop designs are faux rustic farm buildings. That’s not very interesting. Chicken coops also tend to be piecemeal. There’s a big ugly latch or door to clean the coop out, another door to get in to harvest the eggs. We wanted to do something with a clear singular form that’s interesting and can work really well. It’s the same questions we ask when we’re designing a house.


So when your clients are chickens, what kind of needs do you have to satisfy?


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.


We designed three different versions. For one of them, we asked, “What if Marcel Breuer designed a Brutalist chicken coop?” It was poured-form concrete, very sculptural. It seemed interesting in a ridiculous way. But in the end, we decided to go in a different direction.

我们设计了三个不同的版本。针对其中一款设计,我们问自己,“如果让马歇·布劳耶(Marcel Breuer,在世界上首创钢管家具的产品设计师——译注)来设计一座野兽派的鸡舍,他会怎么做呢?”我们为这个方案选择了浇筑式混凝土结构,很有雕塑感,看起来有一种荒诞的趣味性。但是,最终我们还是决定朝另一个方向设计。

Why did you choose metal shingles and radiant floor heating?


They’re aluminum roofing material cut into a shingle shape. It seemed like a way to clad it so it wouldn’t automatically fall into the rustic category.


This may be the only chicken coop that has radiant floor heating. Usually they’re lit, or warmed, by a light bulb. That’s what happens when you have a good contractor who does high-end Hamptons homes. When the contractor brought up radiant floor heating, I thought, ‘That’s ridiculous.’ But then I thought, ‘That’s a really good idea.’ If the heating fails, you’d have a bunch of dead chickens in winter.


Are these chickens living in a palatial home?


Do you mean is it a McMansion coop? No, the dimensions are very similar to typical coops. They may be pampered in style, but not square footage.


What was the budget for this project?


We didn’t have a lot of comparables. How do you even charge for a chicken coop? We decided to do it pro bono. We said: “Let’s just enjoy it. We’re going to have a great time, learn a lot.”


I think the client liked the idea of saying, “Just because it’s a chicken coop, it doesn’t mean you can’t be creative.” It is silly, but at the same time, why not make something interesting?