Neil Arends

BARKitecture by Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture

BARKitecture by Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture

Being partial to our canine friends, BRS was honored to be selected to participate in the Sustainable BARKitecture Dog House Competition held by Denver International Airport in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. The competition tasked local architecture firms with designing a sustainable dog house for a current member of the Canine Animal Therapy Squad, or CATS program.

The volunteer dogs in CATS interact with passengers at the airport to help relieve the anxiety of travel, and teams were tasked with tailoring the design of the dog house to a specific CATS member’s size, personality and preferences. BRS was paired with Butler, an adorable Shepherd mix who doesn’t like baths - perfect for reducing water consumption.

We challenged ourselves to build a sustainable dog house on half of the allowed budget that incorporated a solar panel donated by Panasonic and also catered to Butler’s needs and interests. Following a kick-off meeting and design charrette, our team developed 3 defining guidelines for the design:

  • Reduce environmental impact with a smaller building footprint with reduced energy consumption and water usage
  • Reuse materials to lower embodied carbon usage to help prolong our current resources and protect future canine generations
  • And to create a retreat for Butler by incorporating stimulating yet tranquil design features that allow him to recharge and continue to help others

After some quick sketching and modeling, the team settled on a simple solution that offered indoor/outdoor space to protect Butler from the elements, and a high contrast façade to create visual interest and provide some privacy. Our schematic design was approved by our own in-house quality assurance and control team.

Led by our BARKitecture committee leader, Christine Harwood, the team volunteered some late nights to gather the reclaimed materials and construct Butler’s retreat.

The completed dog house stores energy captured from the solar panel to charge a battery that can power up to 10 hours of automatic ball retrieval for Butler, and just happens to be right-sized for our team leader.

The dog houses will be on display at DIA through October 9th, and will be auctioned off to benefit the Dumb Friends League and their mission to end pet homelessness and animal suffering. Cast your vote for People’s Choice Award (13 and older) or Kid’s Choice Award (12 and under) today or put in your bid in the online auction to take home one of these amazing dog houses!

Posted by Neil Arends on September 21, 2017 at 01:31pm

Tags: sustainable dog house (1), solar powered (1), solar energy (1), materials (5), dog house design (1), design (8), canine therapy (1), canine animal therapy squad (1), barkitecture (1), architecture for dogs (1), architecture (6)

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