Porovesi, 2018, Complete
Situated on a wooded peninsula in the Finnish Lakeland, Kana Talo is a recently completed seasonal home (talo) for up to eight hens (kana) to be kept for their eggs and as pets. Located on the southern shore of lake Porovesi the site lays five-hundred kilometers to the north of Helsinki and just a few hours drive from the arctic circle. Already host to a log-built summer house, sauna, and woodstore, the client asked Chan Brisco Architects to provide the site with a modest coop where hens could be kept throughout the summer months.
Whilst the project may present a small undertaking it has permitted the practice to research, and to work within, a striking and persistent local building culture. Where much of Europe utilises timber to construct frames, the Nordic regions produce an abundance of tall straight pine wood from which emerges stacked log construction – the method remains prevalent in the landscape and is familiar to most Finns. Furthermore, whilst the timber structures of today typically rest on concrete foundations, the region is dotted with the traditional form whereby stacked logs are raised upon, and span between, large stones gathered from the landscape.
The practice has looked to this culture of building, well recognised by local Savonians, to form a design approach that will be familiar but with its own attractive and perhaps peculiar accent.
Set atop four large granite stones, the wooden structure joins the hand-hewn, stacked and notched, interlocking timbers of the pine-rich region. Raising the structure limits its exposure to wet ground, ensures it dries swiftly, and puts at ease the birds within who prefer to sleep off of the ground – a raked roost extends this consideration inside.
Openings are formed in the front facade for passage of the birds and for the collection of eggs from the nesting boxes below. The rear facade holds a larger door for general maintenance. The handles of each leaf are foraged from a nearby fallen birch, hand-sawn and sanded. Hens reach the entrance of the coop via a stair hewn from a single driftwood log of spruce escaped from the neighbouring sawmill. Internal ventilation is critical to coop design with a need to limit the build up of heat, humidity, and ammonia. A series of cored openings in the perimeter beam provide for ample air change, promoting the health of the resident hens.
The timber is finished with a clear matt protective coating and will be maintained each summer by the owners. With the peninsula closing down for the autumn of 2018, the hens will arrive early in the summer of 2019.