Chicken Shack

Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Year: 2018
Awards: 2020 AIA Alaska Merit Award
Client: Shana Whitlock
Team: Petra Sattler-Smith, Sarah Salazar

Spenard, a historic neighborhood in Anchorage currently experiencing a resurgence, provides the backdrop to the new Chicken Shack. Offering southern food in a northern climate, the locally owned Chicken Shack embodies the spirit of this eclectic, offbeat place.

Located in a pre-existing strip mall, the goal of this project was to create a lively atmosphere within an older, tired space. Working within these parameters, focus was lent to the material palette and finishing touches. Plywood was used as an inexpensive material to re-envision a common material in a new, modern way. Stained with a white finish, and cut into 2” strips creating a spatial framework in which cozy booths emerge, diners experience a quaint, intimate meal of locally sourced ingredients. Plywood planks create an irregular pattern, hearkening to the wooden shed where light passes through openings. Wooden shelves act as screens between spaces, lending the space an informal atmosphere. The wood joinery showcases sophisticated yet simple details. Original concrete floors reinforce the modern appeal, while black window collars contrast the plywood. Simple pendant lights of cords and bulbs complete the modern finish.

The program of space allows for convenient take out or for a relaxed sit down meal, the goal being to create a comfortable place for families and friends to gather. Open seating in the front is exposed to southern light with a higher ceiling, a nice contrast to the booths in the back.

The atmosphere created speaks of American tradition, re-envisioning the American table and invoking ideas of farm to table food in a climate often at the mercy of outsourcing its products. The Chicken Shack brings Anchorage a new twist on old ideals of fostering community, supporting local food, and providing a space in which locals can convene.