Custom Home Magazine reports on chicken coops
For this Seattle coop, a hinged panel opens from the outside for easy egg collection.Photo by Credit Matt Deschler. See more photos here.
All Cooped Up – The latest accessory for a custom home? A shelter for the feathered ones
By Cheryl Weber
Custom Home Magazine
September 1, 2010
When architect Michael Viveiros built a house for his family 10 years ago, he added a second house, next to the garden, for his Rhode Island Reds. The chickens probably were the first ever to live in a house recognized by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), as it won a People’s Choice Award from AIA Rhode Island. The property has since sold, and Viveiros is designing another coop to complement his new house. This one will be two stories tall and built into a hillside, with a garden shed upstairs.
“I like playing with forms typical of farm buildings, and things that are simple and handmade,” says Viveiros, a principal at Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels Architects in Providence, R.I. “We deal so much with technology that when it comes to relaxing, I like things at the opposite end of that spectrum.”
The appeal of hand work, and a push-back from the chain-store lifestyle, may help explain the current surge in backyard agriculture. Over the past few years, homeowners of all stripes—rural, urban, suburban—have begun raising chickens, growing blueberries, and keeping bees for honey. Many are inspired by Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, an exposé of the commercial food chain, and by Barbara Kingsolver, whose best-selling memoir, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, chronicled her family’s yearlong effort to live off the food they raised in their backyard. New Urbanist Andrés Duany has been pushing hard in this direction, too, advocating lifestyle communities with an agrarian ethic and declaring agriculture “the new golf.”