Gallery: Herb Greene’s Crazy 1960s Prairie Chicken House Was a Green De...

 
An early example of passive design

Herb Greene was definitely going for something that would stimulate the senses when he built this home. He chose a 2 acre site on the prairies of Norman, Oklahoma where no other houses could be seen, and oriented the house to resist fierce winds and absorb sunlight. The kitchen and family room receive the early sunrise rays while the main bedroom captures the stronger afternoon sun.

Framed with simple timber construction, the unfinished cedar shingles make the house look like a “chicken.” Partially inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and other modernists, Greene didn’t really have a chicken in mind, but he was going for a warm and feathered effect. In the 1960s, using cedar would have made perfect sense, though now we would hope for the FSC-certified variety of wood. Women were said to have cried when they entered the shaggy home, while one man asked if the house had been hit by a tornado! In any case, it’s inspiring to know that even the earliest starchitects had nature on their minds while considering their designs.

+ Herb Greene

images via Herb Greene and Julius Shulman

Via Arch Daily

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