Doghouses Meet Fine Art at the Asheville Bow-Wowhaus

The group raises $6,000 for a rescue and a museum. See some of the creative pooch palaces.


The place to be in North Carolina over the weekend was the Asheville Bow-Wowhaus, a special event at the Asheville Art Museum.

It’s the brainchild of several members of the American Institute of Architects Asheville, who banded together to create doghouses to be auctioned for two charities. One of the charities is Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, which operates a no-kill shelter and foster program for homeless animals, and which has rehomed more than 5,000 dogs and cats since 2006. The second is the Asheville Art Museum. The doghouse auction raised $6,000.

Except “doghouse” is way too ordinary a term to describe these canine design statements. Consider such pooch palaces as Robert Griffin’s Biedermeier House, with its beguilingly Baroque painted ceiling depicting canines placidly swimming alongside fishes in a celestial sea. Or the ruff-yet-refined residence that fetched $1,800, the evening’s highest bid: Kevin Gentry’s Bow Tie, featuring stained Plexiglas and a solar panel. Wow!

Then check out a different breed of doghouse: The Hangover — a collaboration by architect Nicole Szlatenyi, Square Peg Construction, and Hops and Vine specialty beverages — is an ode to Asheville’s love affair with suds (voted Beer City USA, Asheville is home to numerous microbreweries).

The Hangover was built out of wine bottles, corks, and a whiskey barrel. Its crowning touch is a roof with shingles made from crushed cans of local beer. And celebrity canine wave-rider Ricochet would certainly approve of Lost Dog Cafe’s rad choice of materials: an old surfboard!

Guests enjoyed a screening of Romanza, a documentary film by Michael Miner about California homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, including the master builder’s mini-magnum opus, a doghouse designed for the 12-year-old son of a client, who wrote in a 1956 letter to Wright: “I would appreciate it if you would design me a doghouse, which would be easy to build, but would go with our house.” Young Jim Berger offered to pay for the design with his paper route money. Aw!

Today, mature Jim recalls, “I was probably [Wright’s] youngest and poorest client.” In FLW’s honor, Jim and his brother contributed to the Bow Wowhaus by rebuilding “Eddie’s doghouse” using Wright’s original plans.

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