Wretched Excess Dept: British Hedgie Builds Fowl Extravagance, Cluckingham Palace, Coop de Grace

East ElevationSmallwood Architects via Forest of Dean Planning Department/Public Domain

Wealthy English landowners have been building follies for centuries; buildings that served no purpose other than decoration in a garden. Now a member of the new gentry, hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, is building one that does double duty, a sort of transformer folly; it is a chicken coop, in a grand classical design by London's oh so traditional and high-end Smallwood Architects., and costing about a quarter of a million dollars.

Many are crying fowl; the Guardian calls it clucking offensive.

In this particular case, there's the feeling that those who aren't as lucky as Odey are having their noses rubbed in it. We appear to exist in an age where some chickens get treated like kings while hundreds of thousands of humans live like battery hens.

The Daily Mail calls it Cluckingham Palace and notes that "The chicken shack has been designed to be viewed as ‘a small temple in the trees’, as the planning application rather pompously puts it."

South ElevationSmallwood Architects via Forest of Dean Planning/Public Domain

Commenters on both sites call it eggstravagant and a bad yolk.

At the Financial Times, architectural critic Jonathan Foyle says that no matter what you might of the use, it is serious stuff and demands a critique. He complains about the use of the Ionic order chosen for the columns, suggesting that they should be Corinthian, like the Temple of Apollo Epicurius.

Of course most of the animals Odey is accommodating are female, and they fill baskets with eggs. So they are beasts of the Corinthian order, with acanthus leaves ripe for mutation into feathers. And, as this is an Italianate design and the Italian for chicken is pollo, this should surely be a temple to “a pollo” – an epicurean one at that.

Side elevationSmallwood Architects via Forest of Dean/Public Domain

Treehugger loves chicken coops, but surely this is the coop de grace, the death blow to the concept, particularly among the old money British, that if you if you've got it, you don't flaunt it. Things like this inflame the masses; it might cause a coop d'etat.

Wretched Excess Dept: British Hedgie Builds Fowl Extravagance, Cluckingham Palace, Coop de Grace
It's a classical stone chicken coop costing $250,000 and that is both Ionic and ironic.

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