Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Another coop standing

I finally completed the coop i've been working on for my house. I tend to use projects that i build for myself as experiments that i wouldn't necessarily build for other people, but i always end up learning from. This coop, with it's single column support which is anchored in concrete was a crash course in physics and engineering, both of which the 'Just Fine' team are amateurs at best. Thanks to the consultation of one of my volunteers at the Crucible, Vale Larson, who is an architect, we did the framing in such a way as to maximize sheer and minimize weight. The floor framing is completely interlocked with half lap joints with plywood on top to act as a gusset. The central column goes all the way through the coop and locks into the rafters.

In the end, it stands proud, though torsion is an issue we are trying to fix. The whole coop basically acts as a big lever, so it can twist the post a little bit. I am gonna put steel plates through bolted in the redwood post to minimize it.

In terms of experiments though, it was really satisfying. Since i was a kid, i always wanted to make a treehouse, and i never have, so this was sort of a childhood dream that was finally realized. We salvaged two windows from urban ore and used them as whole glass walls on each side, which are framed with miter joints, almost like a picture frame. I used aromatic tennessee red cedar for the siding, which is so warm and luxurious, and naturally weather resistant. The whole thing feels sort of magical, which is what i was going for.
the roof is simply a single sheet of aluminum cut and bent. the final detail was making a spiral starcase going up the column into the coop for the hens to circulate.

We're trying to figure out what to call the coop for the book: a few ideas so far: post-modern coop (get it?), coopsickle, coop on a stick. . .we're open to better ideas, there must be some out there.