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Competition: BowWow Haus London

An animal charity and an arts organisation have launched a competition to create bespoke dog kennels, to be auctioned for charity (Deadline: 1 September)

The Blue Cross together with Florida-based Outdoor Arts Foundation are inviting architects, designers and artists to design and build ‘one-off, unique’ kennels for the BowWow Haus London event.

Selected structures will be exhibited in prominent London locations, such as St Pancras International station, from January to May 2018, before being auctioned at a gala event to raise money for the pet charity which treats thousands of unwanted, unwell or injured pets every year.

Bark-alona Pavilion by Design Haus Liberty

Bark-alona Pavilion by Design Haus Liberty

Bark-alona Pavilion by Design Haus Liberty

‘It is completely free to take part,’ says the brief. ‘We ask only that you cover the costs associated with designing and building your kennel and transporting it to London for public display. All designers will also be asked to provide a sketch of their kennel to be used for publicity and marketing purposes.

‘Your kennel will be publicly displayed in London and viewed by hundreds of thousands of people both living in and visiting the capital. You will help raise much-needed funds for two not-for-profit organisations dedicated to providing forever homes for pets and providing unique art-in-public-places installations. Each architectural firm, company, artist, builder, designer and celebrity will be listed with contact information on a decorative plaque in front of the kennel they designed.’

Outdoor Arts Foundation hosted a similar exhibition, BowWow Haus Tampa Bay, 15 years ago.

Participating UK practices  confirmed for the latest project include Interrobang, Green Tea Architects, Russian For Fish, WHAT Architecture and Chris Dyson Architects.

St Pancras, London

St Pancras, London

Source: Image by Purple

St Pancras, London

Submitted proposals include a poured concrete Mies Van der Rohe-influenced kennel, the Bark-alona Pavilion (pictured above), featuring a reflecting pool and curved bed by Design Haus Liberty.

Studio founder Dara Huang said: ‘We’ve teamed up with Banda Property to deliver a one-of-kind pet pavilion fully equipped with its curved sun lounger and bath. Hopefully these artistic kennels will bring a smile to people’s faces as well as shine a light on animals in need of our support.’

Proceeds from the auction will help support the rebuilding of the Hertfordshire Blue Cross Re-homing Centre.

The charity’s deputy director of fundraising Matt Cull said: ‘Blue Cross couldn’t be more excited for this upcoming exhibition. Our charity helps over 40,000 pets each year and it is wonderful to be able to benefit those dogs in need with some inspirational, unique art.’

All kennels must feature durable materials, weigh at most 180kg and be no larger than 1m x 1m x 1m. Participating teams will receive four tickets to the auction and have their completed structure professionally photographed.

How to apply


Interested parties have until 1 September to apply and all kennels must be completed and submitted by 8 January.

Contact details

Drew Gardner
BowWow Haus London
1 Sun Street
BA11 3DA

Tel: 07860 288 624

Visit the competition website for more information

Q&A with Jay Goulde

The executive director of Outdoor Arts Foundation discusses his ambitions for the contest

Jay Goulde, executive director of Outdoor Arts Foundation

Jay Goulde, executive director of Outdoor Arts Foundation

Source: Image by Drew Gardner

Jay Goulde, executive director of Outdoor Arts Foundation

Why are you holding a call for submissions for contemporary bespoke dog houses?

The seed for BowWow Haus London was planted 14 years ago when we organised BowWow Haus Tampa Bay in Florida. At the time, I had just completed a glass-fibre Loggerhead Sea Turtle project and wanted to do something fresh and different. I met with some architects I knew to brainstorm about some ideas and we quickly came up with having architects design and build functional dog kennels.

As a community arts organisation, we strive to feature a wide-range of talent in our exhibitions so with BowWow Haus London, we are seeking out not only accomplished and up-and-coming architects but also professional artists, designers and celebrities. At the end of the day, this project is all about giving participants a fun, whimsical vehicle to exhibit their talents; and raise funds and awareness for Blue Cross for Pets.

What is your vision for the dog houses?

I think what’s most important is that the kennels be functional. It rains quite a bit over there so we want to make sure that the kennels can withstand the wet climate while providing adequate shelter for a cherished four-legged friend. As with our first BowWow Haus, we love to see creativity and the joining of form and function. From exotic materials such as stainless-steel panels, curved glass roofs and gravity-fed water bowls, I am amazed by some of the innovations that our participants dream up. Whether an architect uses sustainable materials or decides to build something more traditional, the focus of the project is raising funds and awareness for Blue Cross for Pets and their efforts.

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

We want this to be inclusive so we are seeking out both undiscovered talents as well as established firms. One of the beautiful things about this project is that it gives participants a level pitch on which to play. When they are placed on exhibit at venues such as St Pancras International, literally millions of people will have the opportunity to see the kennels, so it would not surprise me to hear that a career was launched from this project.

Eddie's House by Frank Lloyd Wright

Eddie’s House by Frank Lloyd Wright

Eddie’s House by Frank Lloyd Wright

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects be procured?

Growing up, I was always enamoured with British culture and in the last 15 years, I’ve developed somewhat of a love affair with Great Britain. Organising this project has been a dream of mine for over a decade. There is already talk of another BowWow Haus somewhere in Europe, perhaps Paris, Barcelona, Zurich or Berlin? I try not to think too far ahead so making London a smashing success is definitely the top priority.

Are there any other similar dog house structures you have been impressed by?

While I was doing research for the first BowWow Haus, I noticed that Frank Lloyd Wright had actually designed a dog kennel. It was titled ‘Eddie’s House’ and it was commissioned by one of his clients in California whose home on Redwood Road he had also designed. I think it gave me confidence to ask highly accomplished architects to design and build a kennel because I felt like if Wright would do it, any dog-loving architect probably also would.

Porter House case study: Q&A with Jeff Pelszynski

The senior associate at FleischmanGarcia Architects discusses lessons learned designing a dog house for an earlier version of the competition in Tampa Bay, Florida

How did your Porter House project deliver an appropriate addition to the programme?

We approached the design of our dog house the same way we approach any architectural project that comes into our office: by identifying the client’s needs and designing an appropriate space that meets them. This design philosophy assures a functional solution while the collective pool of the design team’s talent strives to imbibe the solution with elegance and aesthetic pleasure.

In this case, our client – a dog – could do little to verbalise its needs so we had to make some assumptions based upon observations and experience with various canine acquaintances. We noted that dogs seem to spend most of their time sleeping and eating so we concluded that an appropriate space for our client might be one in which he or she would be comfortable sleeping while dreaming about eating. This notion led directly to both the form and function of our design.

Porter House by FleischmanGarcia Architects

Porter House by FleischmanGarcia Architects

Porter House by FleischmanGarcia Architects

Which architectural, material, structural and other methods did you harness in your design?

The form took the shape of a dog’s favorite meal: two large, dreamlike cuts of meat. The first piece of meat forms the floor, raised slightly above the ground to stay dry and allow cooling breezes to pass above and below it. The second, slightly larger meat shape forms the roof, which is supported by spars reminiscent of rib bones. The roof is large enough to provide both shade and protection from the rain.

We have also added a couple of features to further enhance our client’s comfort. The first of these is a built-in, bottomless water bowl. This will always remain full by virtue of its connection to a water source through an automatic float valve. The second feature is a solar powered air circulation fan that provides a gentle, sleep inducing breeze and – more importantly – a steady supply of fresh smells to the living/sleeping/dreaming space.

Porter House by FleischmanGarcia Architects

Porter House by FleischmanGarcia Architects

Porter House by FleischmanGarcia Architects


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