A Sneak Peek at Petchitecture 2012’s Designer Doggie Habitats

When the best local architects come together to create one-of-a-kind pet habitats, magic is pretty much guaranteed.


Every year for almost two decades, Bay Area architects have given their time and talent to PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support) by creating one-of-a-kind pet habitats for display at the organization’s posh fundraiser, Petchitecture. Some of the habitats are created with a patron’s pup in mind (habitat hosts donate $2,500 to PAWS to commission one of the architect groups to create a unique piece), and others will be up for auction at the event, which will unfold at the Palace Hotel tomorrow night.

We were invited by our design-savvy friends at Remodelista to attend a Petchitecture preview at the local Room & Board and found some of the designs so curious that we had to follow up with their makers to get the skinny.

The team at William Duff Architects came up with the wine barrel dog bed you see up top. Senior architect Ray Welter tells us that the inspiration for the design was their client, Peggy Bennington, owner of Pug Wine. “We were able to procure three barrels from which we crafted the habitat,” said Welter. The bed inside was picked up at George in Berkeley, which is incidentally one of Dogster’s favorite local boutiques.

The piece is not surprisingly titled “Pugs in a Barrel” and features pawprint openings at each end “for ventilation and Pug views.” We’re especially fond of the “treat drop” opening at the top and the way the winery’s label is affixed right next to it.

The Huntsman Architectural Group was presented with a unique challenge — crafting a pet habitat for Joey, an Australian Shepherd mix whose mom is Dwell Magazine president Michela O’Connor Abrams. For this task, “we thought it appropriate to look to a classic design for inspiration,” said Rahul Pathare of the Huntsman design team.

“The modernist Wassily chair by Marcel Breuer is a timeless design that makes a perfect complement to any Dwell home. In our deconstructed form, Joey’s Dwell serves as a dog bed with night stands with bins that can be flipped open for storing all the dog essentials – treats, leashes, bones, toys, and a copy of a certain magazine.”

The folks at Huntsman have been involved with Petchitecture from the very start, gathering colleagues from the architecture world to contribute. They also planned and designed PAWS’ new headquarters.

MBH Architects came up with a set of habitats that will be up for auction at tomorrow night’s event. Pictured above are the “pawmio” and “mini pawmio,” which Vivian Kwok, a designer on the MBH team tells us were inspired by Alvar Aalto’s “paimio” armchair.

The pawmio “is a progression of sinuous, lyrical contours layered to compose an organic form, designed for the comfort of one’s pet,” says Kwok. Built with stacked birch plywood shell and featuring removable microfiber sueded cushion covers, the piece is lovely enough to be a sculptural centerpiece for the home but appears to be easy enough to clean.

Dogster Community Manager Lori Malm and I fell in love with these coasters that were stacked atop the table-like portion of the pawmio. Seriously, we were looking for price tags so we could pick them up!

We didn’t get to chat with an architect from Gensler, but how sleek is their habitat, a dual crate that fits under a workstation?

See Petchitecture’s gallery of past creations here. What would your dream doggie habitat look like?

All photos by Janine Kahn

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