Written by John Williams
Discerning dogs could soon be snoozing in their own architecturally designed doghouses, as the winners of the inaugural BarkHaus competition go on display this coming weekend. Designed by three of Auckland’s top architects, these canine cribs offer much, much more than your average doghouse.
First up, there’s the stealthy looking Pup Tent by Dorrington Atcheson Architects, manufactured from a single, folded piece of aluminium sheeting, with a solid hardwood ply floor and fully insulated roofing panels. Each detail in the Pup Tent has been well-thought out, such as the separate ‘feeding’ base for food and water bowls, or the hinged screen that allows the occupant the choice of open-air living, or a bit more of a cosy feel. The wide front entrance allows the summer breeze in, whilst the soft interior also provides ample space to curl up in winter. Its lightweight construction and invisible casters make it a breeze to move around – whether you want it inside, as a statement piece of furniture, outside on the deck, or even transported to your beach house over the summer.
View the Pup Tent listing here.
RTA Studio’s Doggy Stylin’ is a statement in modern architecture, taking cues from the traditional New Zealand and Pacific architecture, including the Maori Whare, the shed, the colonial bungalow, and the Fale. Flexibility is a key aspect of the design – to have both an indoor and outdoor doghouse. This provides the owner maximum flexibility in how they use it. The inner den is designed to be removable so that you can take it indoors, or on holiday with you to your bach. The exterior material selection is durable plywood with a natural timber finish.
View the Doggy Stylin' listing here.
Finally, there’s the Chien Lounge by Milieu Architecture + Design. This clever design looks to involve both dog and owner in a play on a traditional ‘chaises longue’, offering a perfect place to sit back relax and enjoy each other’s company on a hot summer’s day by the pool. The design also incorporates a slide-out bowl holder, wheels for moving it around the deck, and a kissing hole and built-in tug rope – just because. It also comes with its own set of custom, outdoor cushions and a comfy dog bed.
"We're so excited to be in the finals,” Milieu Architects’ Kate Beilby says. “Our studio dog Wilbur was the inspiration for our sun-lounger-meets-doghouse design that incorporates indoor-outdoor lounging, poolside refreshments and most importantly a game of tug. We can't wait for him and his dog friends to try it out."
View the Chien Lounge listing here.
The idea behind BarkHaus was to create a fun event that played on Ponsonby locals’ love of their homes and their dogs, says the event organiser, John Williams. “The whole thing snowballed, though, when Ray White Damerell Group came on board,” he says. “The agents have really embraced the spirit of the event and are marketing the dog houses as they would a human home, complete with advertising in the press, and of course the doggie open homes. It’s just taken on a life of its own!”
Local pet supplier PETstock is also supporting the cause through its charity foundation PETstock Assist. It will donate all proceeds to newly created charity Pet Refuge, which will remove a barrier to leaving domestic violence by providing temporary accommodation for pets while their owners escape. The shelter, which is currently under construction, will be the first in New Zealand solely dedicated to pets affected by domestic violence.
“I wanted BarkHaus to benefit a charity that helps both pets and people - and Pet Refuge does that,” Williams says. “I think it’s a cause that many people probably aren’t aware of; that pets are being used as weapons or bargaining chips, and the cruelty that goes on.”
“Some say we’re all barking mad, but I think it’s just good fun, and let’s not forget, it’s all in aid of a very worthy cause.”
The Doggie Open Homes are being held in the main atrium at Ponsonby Central, from 10am to 3pm (November 9th and 10th). The charity auction will be held at the Sapphire Rooms from 6.30pm on Thursday, 14th November.