Thoughts on Barkitecture

Dog-houses and bird-houses have always made me somewhat uneasy. They are strange products and additionally strange terms. What does “house” mean to a bird or a dog? Moreover, what business do we have building homes for another species?

This month Ned Dodington was invited to write a special expanded column for Texas Architect Magazine commenting on the annual Barkitecture competition. The full article can be found on the Texas Architect Magazine website and a portion of it is reprinted below.

Dog-houses and bird-houses have always made me somewhat uneasy. They are strange products and additionally strange terms. What does “house” mean to a bird or a dog? Moreover, what business do we have building homes for another species? What determines the correct design parameters for another animal — i.e. if you could interview a canine or avian client, what would they require in their so-called house? More light? A better view? Perhaps, like most humans in America, they mainly want more closet space. Of course, there are some specific design criteria that will determine the success and failure of an animal habitat (size of entrance, protection from heat and cold, protection from predators), but overall, will your dog prefer a gabled roof, or a flat roof? Does the local blue-jay like white or red exterior paint on his feeder? Does it matter? Probably not. So when we speak of a dog-house, what are we really talking about? And more generally, when we speak of architecture and animals and architecture for or by animals, what can-of-worms are we opening (figuratively, though maybe also literally, speaking)?…

 

Read more at Texas Architect Magazine.com

Images credit Barkitecture Houston.

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