31 Oct 2019

Architects designing dog houses

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:37 pm on 31 October 2019

Sure architects can design houses, but can they design dog houses? 

That's the idea behind the inaugural BarkHaus competition. The public whittled down a dozen entries to pick a top three, which will now be built full-sized and sold, with the proceeds going to charity Pet Refuge. 

Kate Beilby's "chien-lounge" design is one of the finalists, and she joined Jesse Mulligan to talk about it, alongside Julie Chapman from Pet Refuge.

Kate says it was an exciting brief and it helped to have an office dog, Wilbur.

“We thought about what Wilbur would like in a dog house. We thought he probably wouldn’t like a dog house that sat in the corner of a garden, separate to his owner. He really likes to hang with us."

They settled on a sun-lounger-come-dog-house that would allow Wilbur to be close to his friends or owner.

The hole in the house is what they termed the “kissing hole”.

“The idea here is that, if the human is sitting on the front, the dog might pop its head out to say hello and give a little lick or a kiss.”

She says the competition had been a lot of fun.

Each finalist has been assigned a real estate agent for an upcoming auction which will decide the winner.

Kate says the agents are marketing the designs as though they are houses. The open homes will be at Ponsonby Central this weekend.

Julie explains that the charity Pet Refugee is a new organisation that was set up to address the abuse of animals as part of family violence.

“A lot of people don’t know that animals are used as a means of coercion and control in those situations.”

A survey last year revealed that 53 percent of women have stayed in relationships because of their pets and fearing for their pets’ safety.

“What we’re doing is building New Zealand’s first animal shelter that will house the pets of women, children and men who are attempting to escape domestic violence but are unable to leave because of their pets.

“We will keep them safe until their owners secure their own safety and then once they are in a position to find a new place to live, they will be reunited with their pets.”

Julie says the refuge is under construction at the moment in a secret location somewhere in greater Auckland, but will take pets from all over New Zealand.

In parallel with setting up the shelter, the organisation is also creating a network of safe farms for larger animals such as horses and cows.

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