Ample communal areas for socialising, outdoor space for everyone, and private quarters for rest and contemplation are all conditions that could easily define contemporary co-housing of the highest design quality; yet it was a different type of resident that Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and his team had in mind when they used the same principles on a recent project.

Built for the Casa Wabi Foundation, a non-profit art and community organisation based on Mexico’s Oaxacan Coast, this is a chicken coop like no other.

Kengo Kuma Chicken Shed

Working with a grid and lattice-type walls, the architects used the design to distribute structural loads across the building, keeping the aesthetic pure and simple. This modular approach helped define different types of spaces within, including sheltered areas for the general activities of the coop and individual cells for each of its inhabitants.

The wood used is solid pine turned dark and patinated using the traditional Japanese yakisugi technique, and the hen house now provides eggs to feed Casa Wabi’s staff and artists in residence. §

As originally featured in the December 2019 issue of Wallpaper* (W*249)