Monday, April 12, 2010

PICA Coop Design Competition

Based on the work from last year to create the Chicken Cube - I was recently asked to serve on a design competition jury put on by SERA Architects to design the perfect chicken coop. The competition was aimed at benefitting the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA) for their upcoming TADA 2010 Annual Gala by creating an auction item. SERA donated the design time and $500 for materials and Bremik Construction agreed to donate the construction of the coop at the home of the winner of the auction.

The brief was relatively simple - consisting of either a fixed coop or a tractor (movable coop) that had the capacity to house 3 hens. The remainder of the competition was open-ended, with obviously a subtext of a marketable coop design that offered architectural aesthetics and fit within the construction budget ($500 for materials). The winning coop design 'Hen Hedge' by Gary Gola and Jeanie Lai is shown here in a refined format after being chosen as the preferred concept.

Winning Design: Hen Hedge (by Gary Gola + Jeanie Lai)
The modern box offers elegant housing for the chickens, along with a style that blends into the discerning homeowner's exterior decor. The green roof and green wall provide shading along with blending into the landscape, and the design featured the option of either tractor or fixed coop, depending on the needs of the owners. As a blend of inventive and stylistic design, this concept was the best encapsulation of concept that would meet the needs of the auction - to generate interest, and bids, for the item. In short, it was the one people would want to take home.

The coop design went through a bit of refinement after being chosen as the winner, to allow for easier constructability... seen in the images below - which will be the auction item, along with a kit of feeders, watering trough, and yes, even three little pullets to move in immediately.

The full roster of entrants ran the gamut of design concepts from the practical to the architectural - giving a range of options and ideas for housing urban flocks. A short description of the three additional entries is found below:

The Chicken Tractor (Ray Chirgwin)
An elegantly simple tractor using reclaimed materials, this small scale coop design allows for easy movement around the yard. My favorite detail was the use of small galvanized trash receptacles for nest boxes.

Lil' Deuce (Nathan Burton)
The most fully architectural of all the entries, this concept bordered more on folly than coop functionality, making for a beautiful object in the landscape. While beautiful, we felt this would have a specific stylistic appeal but require some work for functionality as a coop.

Chicken Coop de PICA Auction (Andrew Stohner)
A very real coop design, this is something you that many folks would die for in their backyards - fit, functional, and complete, with attention to many of the details of construction and function.

Thanks to Eric Phillips from SERA for the invite to the coop preliminary meetings and jury - as well as my fellow jurors Logan Cravens and Audrey Craig from SERA. For those dying for any of these designs, definitely attend TADA 2010 Annual Gala and bid high and bid often - for the design and support the regional arts community in the process.


  1. Hi,

    I just love, love the "hen hut" winning entry and I have searched all over online to either find the plans for sale or the designers responsible. Is there any way to purchase this, perhaps you can post a link?

    I live a great ways away from Oregon, so I would love the plans and be able to build it myself.


  2. Wow! very detailed information. I want to copy the designs but I don't have the talent to do that. :)


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