Rover goes green: ASU designs sustainable doghouse
The doghouse is getting a makeover for the 21st century, and you can bet your pooper-scooper that Rover has never seen anything quite like this.
Architecture and landscape architecture students from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts have teamed up with PetSmart to create a prototype doghouse that is better suited to your pooch’s needs and is earth-friendly, as well.
The challenge: design a dog house that incorporates recycled materials, can be easily constructed and transported, provides sufficient ventilation and insulation, and can be easily cleaned. Oh, and it must be a place in which a dog wants to dwell.
The designers are first-year graduate students in the advanced studio design course taught by Jason Griffiths, an architecture professor at Arizona State University. The students took into consideration canine lounging behavior, the natural elements, the American human-dog relationship and research that shows 81 percent of dogs don’t actually sleep outside – but they love to be outside.
“Each fall we look for a project all students can embrace at the beginning of graduate school, and the doghouse design fit the bill,” Griffiths says. “ASU encourages collaboration with industry, and we want our students to creatively push the boundaries of architecture as well as design more sustainable products – those that are sustainable in both materials and manufacturing processes.”
The students had just three weeks to develop their concept. What they created completely re-conceptualizes the doghouse design that generally has been the same since the 19th century – a structure mimicking a human home with gabled roof.
The students’ models range from classy bamboo abodes that double as human bedside tables, to “living” outdoor structures that use natural plants to provide shade, to chic egg-shaped “dog pods” with removable roofs. There are collapsible tent-like structures, a “bark-o-lounger” and a domed structure with louvered roof that throws shade according to the seasonal shifts of the sun.
Sixty designs were narrowed down to 20 and then displayed as models at the PetSmart headquarters in Phoenix. Employees voted on their favorites, and the votes were taken into consideration by a roundtable of judges that eventually narrowed the designs down to three winners.
The winners were awarded $1,000 scholarships from PetSmart to fund the fabrication of their concepts into professional models that will be displayed at PetSmart’s Greenbuild 2009 expo booth Nov. 11-13, in Phoenix. Greenbuild is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. The School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture also designed the ASU booth for the Greenbuild conference.
The search for a sustainable doghouse coincides with PetSmart’s Think Twice initiative aimed at, among other things, supporting green products and partnerships.
“PetSmart launched Think Twice in an effort to become a more environmentally sustainable retailer,” says Suzanne Lindsay, the director of PetSmart’s sustainability efforts. “This design challenge allowed us to promote Think Twice while supporting our University Relations program. We’re proud to support Greenbuild as a local business leader on our own journey toward becoming more sustainable.”
According to Lindsay, the long-term goal is continuing development of the project in forthcoming design studios at ASU. It is envisioned that this initial competition will lead to in-depth study and full-scale fabrication of a prototype doghouse developed in collaboration with PetSmart.