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Horton Hears A Woof! - A Teacup Pup Doghouse

Posted by Guest Contributor on Mar 04, 2019

For the third year, Array Architects participated in the Bark + Build Doghouse Design/Build Competition in Dallas, TX. Our local Dallas office partnered this year with Vaughn Construction. Array’s Horton Hears A Woof! doghouse was recognized with the Hotdog Award, which represents 2nd place among 25 design entries. Take an inside look at the inspiration for our design, how we built it, and what we set out to accomplish in this competition.

Goal

The Bark + Build Competition was created to help the SPCA of Texas achieve their mission to provide exceptional care to animals. Raising funds through the auction of all the dog (and cat) houses created for the competition accomplished this. Collateral benefits of participating include helping to raise awareness for homeless pets, giving architecture and construction firms a space to develop relationships, and enjoying the pleasure of designing one-of-a-kind doghouses and cat condos, which represents unusual but sympathetic building typologies rarely seen in our palette of opportunities.

Doghouse story: In the Jungle of Nool, Horton the elephant hears a familiar woof. The sound comes from his friend Carmy, a teacup pup living in a very small city called Whoville. This city is indeed so small that it is located within a floating speck of dust on a clover flower guarded by Horton. With her friendly barking, Carmy is thanking Horton for protecting all the Whoville houses, ceilings, floors, churches, groceries stores and of course, her own dog house. After all, a dog is a dog, no matter how small.Array_Bark-Build2018-3

Design: Based on initial ideas shared in our Dallas office, my initial intent was to design a playful, whimsical and colorful dog house. The first sketches were inspired by the beauty of DIY bird house designs, Tim Burton movies and dreams from our office members’ childhoods. The search for inspiration quickly turned to the artistic, fun and educational children books written by Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss. The house is composed of traditional elements like a gable roof, walls and openings but all expressed in an unusual and distorted way. Although sufficiently enclosed, the structure contains openings strategically placed for providing means of internal air flow. The final design is a tribute to one of Dr. Seuss’ most successful stories called Horton Hears A Who! which promotes a lesson in equality and justice.

Array_Bark-Build2018-2Construction: In terms of constructability, the goal was to design a structure easy to build, without many construction details and using maple plywood panels as the main material. The two main pieces - the front and back walls - consist of two layers of ¾” maple plywood glued together and stained orange. These walls also contain portions of maple plywood stained blue , creating a projected extra layer of ½” in some areas of both facades. Orange and blue stains were used to accentuate all plywood pieces and give the structure a tridimensional puzzle-like feel. All front and back wall panels were cut using CNC technology to obtain a clean and precise interplay of solids and voids accentuated by the difference of colors. The same material, finish and technique was used to cut the base of the house. The side walls are partial, connecting only to the base and front and back walls but not to the gable roof with the intention of creating additional openings to the sides. Three quarter inch maple plywood cut as 5” width planks were used to form the bended gable roof. Once all the pieces were stained and ensembled, the whole wood structure was sealed for durability. A chimney-like object made of cooper, plywood and plexiglass was added on top of a perforation made to the gable roof with the purpose of bringing more light to the interior of the house.

Intention: The Bark + Build Competition has been beneficial to all related to this competition in different ways. The main intention is to help the SPCA of Texas on their mission to provide exceptional care to animals. This is accomplished by raising funds through the auction of all the dog (and cat) houses participating in the competition. Other collateral benefits of participating in this competition are to help raise awareness for homeless pets, to give architecture and construction firms a space to develop relationships and finally to have the pleasure of designing one-of-a-kind doghouses and cat condos, which represents unusual but sympathetic building typologies rarely seen in our palette of opportunities.

Award: Our Horton Hears A Woof! doghouse award was received during the 2018 Bark + Build Doghouse Design/Build Competition closing night On December 2, 2018.

Array_Bark-Build2018_Rendering

Blog authored by Ionex Cruz-Sanyet, a former architectural designer with Array.