Community Chicken Coops
Bertie County is home to a Perdue chicken plant, which means many farmers raise broiler chickens (up to 250,000 at a time!) for the company. In this context, we asked students to design “the craziest chicken coop possible,” to house 6-12 backyard chickens as a counterpoint to the large scale industry. Starting with an action word from Richard Serra’s beautiful list of verbs, students first sketched, then modeled a coop inspired by words like “twist,” “fold,” and “hinge.” Then, learning MIG-welding and carpentry skills along the way, they brought the coops to life at full scale and donated them to families around Bertie County. The final three coops were all different and beautiful: one resembling a strand of DNA, one inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome, and one using the geometry of a pentagon to create a hinged facade.