Chickens can be stylish too – just look at this design wonder in Mexico City
A practical, open air coop is also a sculpture on a unique farm.
Words Nadene Hall Photos Edmund Sumner
The hens of the Casa Wabi coop live in an enormous art project, designed to keep them cool and comfortable in the heat of their Mexican homeland.
It’s part of a retreat set up by renowned Mexican multimedia artist Bosco Sodi.
His home, on a 27ha farm bordering the Pacific Ocean in the south of Mexico, is a stunning, glass-free, long, open building, and he wanted something just as architectural for his flock.
The coop was designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. He used charred wooden boards for the framework, a traditional Japanese preserving technique known as shou sugi ban.
The coop is constructed in a grid pattern, incorporating a quarantine pen and a work area, so eggs can be collected without entering the main coop. The 1.5-storey high structure covers 155m², and includes a 35m² courtyard.
The lattice-like walls are lined with mesh and form nooks where the chickens can sleep. The slatted effect also provides a lot of shade and plenty of airflow in an area where the average daytime temperate in summer is 25-30°C.
Some floors are the natural sand base, while others are made of bricks designed and fired on site in a ceramics kiln.