ARCHITECTURE FOR DOGS by Kenya Hara
During my Christmas flight back from Chicago, IL to my home town, Barcelona, I alternated my reading list from Steve Job’s biography to the ARTForum magazine and to Wallpaper* Magazine. Certainly a twelve hour journey fives you plenty time to switch from one to another comfortably.
But, while reading the London-based publication, Wallpaper’s December issue, I could not help feeling both shocked and hilarious to read a recent project that Kenya Hara, japanese graphic designer and curator, has developed, Architecture for Dogs.
Even if it sounds unbearable, the project’s organizers have been ale to convince thirteen worldwide known architects to design and develop doghouses for thirteen specific breads. Some breads were randomly paired to the architects, but, other, on the contrary, were specifically requested by the future doghouse designer, such is the case of Toyo Ito and Kasuyo Sejima.
Despite the interest these architects shown, the collaborators of Kenya Hara were conscious of the little time that their studios have to spare, and therefore, provided them with the specific requests each bread has such as physical characteristics, temperament and health concerns. Sound crazy. But, not everything was for the dogs; these designs had to be “easy for everyone to assemble with ordinary household tools and materials”, as the blueprints of the resulting projects are online for everyone to access the information for free.
As always, wether the initial intention is an easy-building design or not, some, such as Kuma’s structural kennel design for a pug does no seem easy at all to me, interesting and aesthetically attractive yes; household makable, no.
Is this last part the one I find the most interesting, the free online database for normal people (or dog lovers) to access the construction voucher. Of course it is funny picturing Shigeru Ban or Hiroshi Naito concerning wether a dog will like the design or not, but that is not life changing. It is the trouble Hara has got himself into when it comes to the display in the webpage of the outcome of his peculiar idea or the design of the webpage itself. Revolutionary. Do you imagine yourself ever having the possibility of building a Kasuyo Sejima’s house from blueprints online? No, right? Well, if your best companion happens to be a Bichon Frise, you could. And you will be able, as my favourite spanish cook, David de Jorge, always repeats, to add your own touch and making it yours.
The experience tough, does not end here. Once you have finished building your own atelier Bow-Wow’s kennel and your dogs enjoys it, you can, if wanted, upload pictures adn be part of what aims to be a “catalyst for architectural invention”.
I myself would enjoy watching my dog looking at me with their face twisted like asking: what on earth are you doing? But it turns out that none of these thirteen architects have thought about Rottweillers or Great Danes. So my dogs will have to keep on lying on the floor for a while longer.
MVRDV + Beagle , Kazuyo Sejima + Bichon Frise, Sou Fujimoto + Boston Terrier, Atelier Bow-Wow + Daschund Smooth, Torafu Architectects + Jack Russel Terrier, Shigeru Ban + Papillon, Kengo Kuma + Pug, Hiroshi Naito + Spitz, Konstantin Grcic + Toy Poodle, Hara Design Institute + Japanese Terrier, Kenya Hara + Tea Cup Poodle