Students' sustainable doghouse designs win Brazos AIA contest

Former and current design students from Texas A&M’s College of Architecture incorporated “green” techniques in the design and construction of winning entries in Brazos Bark & Build, a sustainable doghouse competition sponsored by AIA Brazos, the local American Institute of Architects chapter.

AIA Brazos sponsored the event to raise public awareness about the benefits of sustainable design and show off local design talent. Proceeds from a silent auction of the doghouses benefited the Brazos Animal Shelter and the AIA Brazos’ Emerging Professionals Committee.

Three former students were part of a team from The Arkitex Studio Inc. that crafted the contest’s first place entry; students in a second-year studio led by Brian Gibbs, visiting architecture lecturer, created the second place entry.

Contestants were tasked with designing and building a doghouse with at least 50-percent recycled, reclaimed or salvaged materials, or to use locally manufactured and sold materials.

Designers could earn extra points for incorporating “green” elements in their design, such as a rainwater collection system, a heat reflective roof, a porch, natural light, use of building materials with low toxicity, and easy mobility, eliminating the need for a new structure to be built each time a dog’s caretakers move.

The Arkitex design team consisted of former environmental design students Pamela da Graca ‘07, Fernando Morales, ‘08 and Mike Record ’87. da Graca also earned a Master of Architecture degree at Texas A&M in 2009. 

“Very beautiful,” said the judges in their evaluation of the Arkitex design. “Lots of attention paid to detail. Very professional.”

Their Arkitex doghouse, made almost completely from an old wooden fence, product samples and construction waste and finished with leftover paint, also features a rainwater collection system.

“We know the collection system works because of a downpour that occurred during the competition,” said da Graca.

The second-place doghouse, designed by Gibbs' students Krista Thomas, Kyle Haws and Elizabeth Widaski’s, incorporated a heat-reflective roof, openings allowing for lots of natural light, and a partial enclosure to provide protection from the elements as well as plenty of ventilation.

posted October 24, 2012