Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Kennel club: Japan's Kenya Hara launches 'Architecture for Dogs'

By Naomi Pollock, Wallpaper*
updated 7:08 AM EST, Thu December 20, 2012
The Architecture for Dogs website, launching on 15 November, will supply free blueprints for 13 different DIY doghouses, each earmarked for a particular breed. '"Paramount" was designed by Konstantin Grcic for a Toy Poodle. The Architecture for Dogs website, launching on 15 November, will supply free blueprints for 13 different DIY doghouses, each earmarked for a particular breed. '"Paramount" was designed by Konstantin Grcic for a Toy Poodle.
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
Designer doghouses
  • Japanese designer Kenya Hara has created stylish dog kennels
  • Architecture for Dogs will supply free blueprints for 13 different DIY doghouses
  • Hara has been mulling over the idea of designer doghouses for 15 years
  • Hara hopes to turn the venture into a catalyst for architectural invention

(Wallpaper*) -- It may be tough to teach old dogs new tricks, but perhaps they can learn to live in new houses. Japanese graphic designer and curator Kenya Hara has made it his mission to find out.

Debuting at Design Miami in early December, in collaboration with a star-studded cast of designers and architects from America, Europe and Japan, this online venture supplies free blueprints for 13 different DIY doghouses, each one earmarked for a particular breed.

Hara hopes that pet enthusiasts everywhere will build them and that their photos will go viral and kickstart an online architectural discourse about the designs when the website launches this month.

Hara has been mulling over the idea of designer doghouses for around 15 years, and the project finally caught the attention of American investors at Imprint Venture Lab. Hara knew the pet-related theme would be popular, he said, 'I have the impression that the whole world is interested in babies and dogs.'

I have the impression that the whole world is interested in babies and dogs.
Designer Kenya Hara

Building on the "man's best friend" bond, he started by matching designers to dogs, choosing only small breeds that like to live inside. Some are random pairings, such as the Dachshund with architects Atelier Bow-Wow and the Toy Poodle with product designer Konstantin Grcic, but others are special requests, like architect Toyo Ito who wanted to build for his own Shiba, and Kengo Kuma who was keen to make a new home for a client's Pug.

Because conversation with their canine clients could be a bit one-sided, Hara provided each designer with a dossier of information covering the physical characteristics, temperament and health concerns of their breed. Human needs were considered in the brief, too, which stipulated that the doghouses should be easy for anyone to assemble with ordinary household tools and materials.

More from Wallpaper*: Brasilia in pictures - 50 great buildings

Leading the pack, Hara launched the project by designing two doghouses of his own: a hard, paper cone suspended from the ceiling for a Japanese Terrier and a plywood contraption for a Teacup Poodle.

Making architecture more like our dreams
Rebelling against modern architecture

Intended to improve contact between pooch and person, the poodle's structure consists of a 70cm-high, wedge-shaped wooden tunnel enclosing a puppy-sized run of stairs. They lead up to a platform at chair height where the dog can recline while gazing adoringly at their owner.

"Putting a dog on the table is not so good," says Hara. "Yet the floor is a little too far away." Located between these two extremes, Hara's proposal may have conceptual merit. But it took lots of Liver Snaps to coax a live Poodle up the stairs.

This reaction is not much of a surprise since the actual dogs did not participate much during the design phase. And when they did, many were more challenging than human clients. Architect Sou Fujimoto's subject, a Boston Terrier rented at a Tokyo dog park, refused to even go inside the prototype. Scrapping that sphere-shaped model, Fujimoto devised an open-frame structure instead, reminiscent of his House NA.

Most designers started by presenting a conceptual sketch to Hara and his staff who then investigated ways to realize the projects. "Architects are very busy so we tried to provide ideas for materials and construction methods," explains Hara.

Dogs get makeover for fashion show

Like a fast-paced game of fetch, ideas moved back and forth between the designers and team Hara. Sometimes it took four or five months to develop a realistic solution -- more time than required for many full-fledged buildings. And even then certain proposals, such as Toyo Ito's inflatable, vinyl roof worn on the dog's back, still proved unbuildable.

Read related: Fun gifts to spoil your pet this Christmas

Others, however, like architect Kazuyo Sejima's home for a Bichon Frise, met with more success. The Pritzker-prize winner had little time to spare, but knew that she wanted to create something fluffy for her assistant's fuzzy white pup. Running with her idea, Hara's group began exploring soft materials and ways to support them.

Architecture for Dogs is not a pet's project. It is a project for architects.
Designer Kenya Hara

In due course, all agreed on a curved wooden frame enrobed by a hand-knitted cover. Though it bears little resemblance to the minimalist, glass buildings that have made Sejima famous, her doghouse got a warm reception from its canine resident who crawled inside and took an immediate liking to the soft, protective shell.

The Tokyo architecture firm Torafu also sincerely considered the needs of its Jack Russell Terrier, creating an easy-to-build, simple structure that recycles old clothes. Resembling a hammock, it consists of a wooden frame that supports an old T-shirt, preferably one well worn by the dog's owner. "The smell of the owner is very, very important for a dog," says Hara. '"t makes the dog feel safe and want to be here."

But a pooch's response is only one measure of success. "Architecture for Dogs is not a pet's project," explains Hara. "It is a project for architects." For that reason, he engaged Yugo Nakamura, one of Japan's leading web designers, to create the interactive, trilingual website where participants can download drawings and view instructional videos, as well as upload photos of their newly built pet palaces, showcasing customizations and material substitutions.

"One idea can create lots of architecture around the world," says Hara. And potentially turn Architecture for Dogs into a catalyst for architectural invention.

For more on architecture, visit

© 2012 All rights reserved.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:48 AM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
Imagine if going through airport security was just a matter of walking past a stretch of wall.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
From spotting allergens to counting calories, technology can lend a smart hand in the kitchen.
updated 9:26 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Meet the 'Flavour Conductor', a magical instrument that took 10,000 hours to build and can change the taste of your drink through the power of sound.
updated 12:09 PM EDT, Wed September 3, 2014
Mogees is a technology that turns any object into a musical instrument, by converting the vibrations you make when you touch it into sound.
updated 9:06 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Scientists are attempting to harness the power of a star by mirroring how the sun produces heat and light. CNN's Nick Glass reports.
updated 7:37 AM EDT, Fri September 5, 2014
Neil Harbisson is the world's first legally recognized cyborg. He has an antenna implanted into his skull that gives him the ability to perceive color.
updated 12:18 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Move over, hoverboard: new technologies promise to make everything float free through levitation.
updated 12:45 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Getting a foothold on the property ladder can be a challenge, and the prospects for many of us have been battered by the global recession.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
It's like a chair that isn't there, but magically appears whenever you need it. It's called the Chairless Chair. Find out how it works.
updated 5:39 AM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
Engineer Alan Bond has been developing a new concept for space travel for over 30 years -- and his creation is now on the verge of lift off.
updated 8:10 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Crumbling buildings, burnt-out PCs, and cracked screens -- a new generation of "self-healing" technologies could soon consign them to history.
updated 5:09 AM EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
Discover a dancing cactus field, basketball on the Hudson River, and mind-bending 3D projections on robotic screens.
updated 1:07 PM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
Would you live there? Design student Peter Trimble says it's actually a surprisingly good idea.
updated 10:50 AM EDT, Wed May 14, 2014
Alpha Sphere
Singing Tesla coils, musical ice cream, vegetables on drums... and this ball? Find out how "hackers" have created a new generation of instruments.
updated 12:43 PM EDT, Wed May 28, 2014
Technology has long learned from nature, but now it's going micro. "Cellular biomimicry" sees designers take inspiration from plant and animal cells.
updated 1:08 PM EDT, Wed April 9, 2014
Forget wearable tech, embeddable implants are here. Learn more about the pioneers who are implanting devices into their bodies.
updated 6:26 AM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
A visitor of the 'NEXT Berlin' conference tries out Google Glass, a wearable computer that responds to voice commands and displays information before your eyes. It is expected to go to market in late 2013.
We know how wearable tech can enhance our fitness lives but there's evidence that its most significant application is yet to come: the workplace.
updated 4:13 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
Samsung's research unit announces new way to synthesize graphene, potentially opening the door to commercial production.
updated 8:15 AM EDT, Mon March 31, 2014
iRobot, creators of vacuuming robot Roomba reveal how they learned from secret experiments -- in space travel, minefields, and toys.
updated 12:23 PM EDT, Fri March 28, 2014
A light-bulb glowing in middle of a room with no wires attached. "It's the future," says Dr Katie Hall.
updated 11:26 AM EST, Mon March 3, 2014
Knee replacements that encourage cells to regrow could soon be manufactured -- by spiders. Find out how.
updated 9:03 AM EST, Fri February 14, 2014
Meet Chuck Hull: the humble American engineer who changed the world of manufacturing.
updated 9:48 AM EST, Thu February 6, 2014
The key to self-knowledge? Or just the return of the phony "mood ring"? Check out our top mood-sensing technology in development.