Before the second lockdown, we had the chance to visit the Architecture for Dogs Exhibition, at Japan House London (located paces from High Street Kensington’s tube station, in case you are wondering), featuring a number of pieces from various architects and artists, interpreting the dog house. In light of the restrictions in place, Japan House London is currently closed, but the exhibition, which will be running until 10 January 2021, has now gone virtual, so you can take a free tour without leaving your home.
The Architecture for Dogs Exhibition
The dog house has been source of inspiration for architects and artistist over the years. In 20218, in London, exhibition BowWow Haus London saw architects and artists build their “dream kennels” for dogs, which went on display at St Pancras International station, and auction them for charity. The Architecture for Dogs exhibition, at Japan House London, focusses on the dog house as seen by a number of (almost entirely Japanese) architects and designers.
A collection of architectural designs for dogs by world-class architects and designers (including Ban Shigeru, Kuma Kengo, Itō Toyō and Sou Fujimoto), the exhibition was devised by Hara Kenya, President of the Nippon Design Center and Japan House Creative Advisor and was set to be open from 19 September 2020 to 10 January 2021 at Japan House London, in High Street Kensington.
Taking the virtual tour
Due to Tier 3 and then Tier 4 restrictions in London, Japan House London had to temporarily shut its doors, but it cleverly made the exhibition accessible through a virtual 3D tour, supported by JTI UK. You can access the free virtual tourof the Architecture For Dogs exhibition and navigate the space clicking on the arrows and the information buttons to learn more about each dog house featured. Just put it on big screen and enjoy.
Dog houses at the exhibition
Some futuristic, some playful, some evocative. The dog houses on display are anything but ordinary. Some examples? The “Architecture for Bichon Frise” house by Sejima Kazuyo, is a white fluffy cloud that was thought for the breed, but we could easily see a whippet enjoying it more. “The Dog Cooler” by Naito Hiroshi, is a functional design made up of a mat of wooden slats and empty aluminium tubes, which are meant to be filled with ice bags in summer, to bring a cooling effect to dogs lying on the structure. A .. to Japan hot and humid summers and the architect’s Spitz dog Pepe.
But there is much more.
When we visited the physical exhibition, before the second lockdown, only small dogs were allowed, so we couldn’t take Argo along when we visited before the second lockdown. Owners of large dogs share a frustration when policies contain restrictions for large dogs while allowing small ones, however, in this instance, upon visiting the exhibition I realised that the space was quite small and the artefacts quite close to each other, so I see that the organisers may have been concerned about lack of enough space for a larger dog. Also, given that this is the first time ever Japan House London opens its doors to dogs, I understand that sometimes venues may feel they want to test it on a small scale (though I may have some arguments about whether it makes sense for the criterium to be small dogs only), so my philosophy is “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.
Dog house design competition and build your own
At the physical exhibition, you also had the chance to draw your own dream dog house and submit it to a panel (in the picture it’s me having a go), with a winner drawn every week and the best designs going into production. Now you have the time to do your sketch at home: what you need to do is simply download the worksheet from Japan House London website, draw your creation and send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you don’t feel like designing but would like to give your dog one of the dog houses on display, you can instead download the design blueprint of the dog house from this page and build your own! Don’t forget to upload the photos of your work and send it to Architecture for Dogs!
You can take the virtual tour of the Architecture For Dogs exhibition until 10 January 2021.