June 3, 2012

DIY Project: an Eco Dog House.

Eco Dog House.

Redford was hot. It gets realllly hot on his favorite balcony, sometimes.

He needed some shade.

And sometimes, Redford is cold.

Sometimes, it rains.

Sometimes, it snows. And if his friend Waylon has biked away somewhere, and Redford wanted to stay outside on the balcony so he could look out and see all that was happening below, he needs a cozy warm place to curl up until Waylon speeds back.

Redford needed a good old-fashioned simple doghouse.

So Waylon and I hopped in my monster truck and went to ReSource, the Center for ReSource Conservation’s salvaged building material yard, to see what ingredients we could find. From the vast supply of useful, interesting, and rare materials, we pulled some old fence panels, a matched pair of arched windows, a great old sheet of cool galvanized sheet metal, some picture frame samples, some polyisocunurate insulation, and some wood slats. Super affordable. Love ReSource.

If something is worth making, it’s worth making creatively, beautifully, and with reclaimed stuff.

The first night I cut things up and put things together at my shared shop space where I live, Wild Sage Cohousing. Friends stopped by to chat and lend a hand. A half dozen kids breezed through, helping here and there, and asking all sorts of questions.  These days, kids don’t get to be a part of the act of making, and they are always enthralled. This is also true for grown ups not so much younger than I, who grew up in a digital world, somehow missing the physical.

In my architectural practice, we seek to create moments like this through interweaving people’s paths through the day and offering opportunities for voluntary casual interaction. We design a lot of co-housing communities, and extend those lessons into affordable housing, single family homes, and even into mixed-use and retail spaces. We work to manipulate repurposed materials. We reduce energy needs, increase daylight, and work with the climate.  We know how to make buildings and communities that use less energy than they create each year. We aim for delight.

This doghouse offered me the chance to whip up a fun project in a matter of hours, help out a friend, and put a roof over a good dog’s silly head. It’s quicker than our usual projects.

The second night I undid much of what I did on night one, and then reconfigured the pile to completion.

The third night, my baby sister Karen and I wove the modularized components up the spiral staircase to Waylon’s (Redford’s) balcony, and with Red’s morale support, put them back together.

Today, Waylon and I hoisted the roof onto his deck, and installed it. Then there was the photo shoot and much backslapping.



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