School of Built Environment & Development Studies

Architecture students design & build chicken coops for Green Camp Gallery Project

First year architecture students recently showcased chicken coops designed and built by the student teams for the Green Camp gallery project.

Green Camp is an organic urban lifestyle and design hub in Durban. The once derelict and abandoned area was transformed by artist Mr Xolani Hlongwa and is now functioning as an art gallery, organic vegetable garden and apparel shop with live installations of urbanity. Live music, poetry readings and backyard cinema screenings have been hosted at the venue. 

Architecture lecturer, Ms Bridget Horner explained that the chicken coop project is part of a relationship they started last year with the Green Camp gallery in Umbilo road. ‘When visiting we noticed hens and chicks but no purpose designed coop and thought making one of these as a first year architecture project would be fun, meaningful and purposeful. 

‘Students, grouped into 6 teams, drew inspiration from architects from around the world in developing their designs and after four weeks of hard work and much learning in the process we now have 6 exciting coops to display to the University community,’ she said.

The chicken coops, showcased on the Howard College lawns, will be donated to the Green Camp gallery to house their poultry and will contribute towards the camp’s social project.

Student Ms Kekelwa Akombelwa along with her team members designed a rectangular coop made of plywood with easy access for the chickens to enter, exit and roost. ‘We designed something simple with adequate ventilation but also something that is chicken-friendly. This was a great build design concept that challenged us but also made us realise the value of architecture in the world.’

Speaking about teamwork, Ms Chloe Naidoo said, ‘At times, it was challenging because there were conflicting ideas on how to build the coop. We learnt the importance of teamwork and utilizing various strengths of the team members but we managed to work together and the project really clarified how important it is to design and build correctly.’

Dean for the School of Built Environment and Development Studies Professor Ernest Khalema was impressed with the chicken coops. ‘Each of these designs shows the hard work put into it by the students. It showcases the amazing talent of our students but also puts the architecture discipline on the map. Well done to our students and lecturers.’

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