First-year students from the Interior Design degree course at De Montfort University (DMU) Leicester were relieved when a series of doghouses they had designed, as part of their ‘Barkitechture’ project, received a dog's paw mark of approval.
After meeting their ‘client’, a German Shepherd called Millie, the students were tasked with working in groups to design and produce drawings and scaled models before building a full size, fully working doghouse. Millie is owned by Andrea Jones, Health & Safety Officer with the DMU Faculty of Art, Design & Humanities.
An added design challenge was thrown in by asking each of the five groups to reference a particular architectural movement, such as Art Deco, Modernism and, following the recent #DMUglobal trip by some of the students to Barcelona, a design style influenced by Gaudi.
The doghouses will now be donated to the RSPCA and Leicester Animal Aid (Millie’s former home), who the students involved in the design process from the early days of the project.
“The students were immensely engaged in the design process and very enthusiastic about meeting the demands of such an unusual client”, said Brian Wealthall, DMU lecturer in Interior Design.
“Their results are testament to some great teamwork and their dedication to seeing the project through from initial research through to the assembly and build.
“It is often difficult for interior design students to work at full-size scale and being able to create a real, purposeful project was immensely rewarding for them.
“We’re very grateful to Travis Perkins Leicester who kindly donated building materials for the doghouses and helped make this project possible,” added Brian.
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Jade Gibson, from the RSPCA Woodside Animal Centre, on Scudamore Road, said: “From the design stage to the finished product the DMU students really thought about the dogs’ needs and how the kennels can be used every day.
“The kennels will be a welcome addition to the centre and for our dogs.”
Lindsay Woodward, of Leicester Animal Aid, added: “We were delighted to be involved in this project and have been very impressed with the stunning designs and attention paid to the design brief.
“We’re looking forward to showcasing the kennels at our rescue centre where they will undoubtedly be enjoyed by our canine residents and prove a talking point for our visitors.”
With around a third of the first-year students joining the Barcelona trip, there was no shortage of ideas for designing the doghouses, with a Gaudi inspired ‘Barkelona’ theme and a Modern Barcelona style included in the five group projects.
Shivani Patel (19) led the ‘Barkelona’ group: “Meeting Millie and then getting feedback from Lindsay and Jade when we first presented our designs taught us about safety issues and how to best serve the needs of the ‘client’.
“We found out what the dogs would most like in terms of them being inside or outside their house, whether they would want to be able to see what’s going on around them, how they prefer to eat and drink and what the issues are when it comes to cleaning and gaining easy access.”
Chelsea Walker (19) was project leader for the group tasked with producing a doghouse in the Deconstructivist style:
“This postmodernist style is noted for its angles, its sense of fragmentation and controlled chaos. We used grey and dark toned colours to suggest the movement’s use of metal and glass.
“There was plenty of time to organise the team’s different job roles, project timetables and work schedules but we only had a week to build the design and as a team we learned as much about project planning and thinking ahead to turn our ideas into reality as we did about design.”
Posted on Friday 22nd May 2015