2023 RDAA | Custom Accessory or Outbuilding | The Fruit Cage | Nicole Migeon Architect

Sturdy, meticulously crafted, and made with sustainable materials, the Fruit Cage is a conceptual cousin to this rural property’s main barn, which was also designed by Nicole Migeon, AIA. Its purpose: to be open to the elements while kindly encouraging fowl and four-legged foragers to dine elsewhere. At 12-feet by 26 feet and 121/2 feet tall, the timber-frame structure has flush diagonal bracing, site-fabricated trusses, and vertical battens. A blackened stainless-steel latch, made by a local metalsmith, opens the door to a brick path flanked by two planting beds. 

“I love the rhythm of it,” said a judge. That was the idea. “Rather than put a skin on it, we looked at repetition, symmetry, how to make the structural shoring and bracing into beautiful x’s,” says Nicole. “How the fasteners can be countersunk so you don’t see them, and how to sandwich the netting so you don’t see the attachment.” The locally sourced eastern white cedar was left unfinished and flashed with zinc. Rabbit wire wrapping the sides and roof was dug 3 feet into the ground so predators can’t burrow under it, but the 1-inch openings are large enough to admit beneficial insects such as bees. “It’s an original, inspired, humble little uncomplicated project, but very clear, with a high level of craft,” a judge said.


Custom Accessory or Outbuilding

Nicole Migeon Architect

The Fruit Cage

Western Massachusetts

Project Credits

Architect: Nicole Migeon, AIA, principal; Nicole Scope, project manager; Sebastian Quinn, RA, project architect, Nicole Migeon Architect, New York, New York

Builder: Chris Seaver, Seaver and Sons Custom Builders, Charlemont, Massachusetts

Structural engineer: David Vreeland Structural Engineer, Leyden, Massachusetts

Project size: 520 square feet

Site size: 10 acres

Construction cost: Withheld

Photography: TCS Photography; Paul Teeling Photography

Key Products

Cladding: Eastern white cedar

Structure: Eastern white cedar

Rabbit fencing: Metal 1-by-1-inch wire

Door hinges: Marvin

Fasteners: G.R. Fasteners; TimberLOK

Flashing: Recycled zinc

Foundation: Sonotube

Roof trusses: Custom

Truss connections: Simpson Strong-Tie