The doghouse, that ubiquitous shelter found in backyards across the globe, has seen little in the way of innovation—that is until now. The Fetch House, developed by CallisonRTKL’s Dallas team, is a 3D-printed abode for our canine companions that simultaneously functions as a storage device for at least 1,000 tennis balls. The prototype was awarded Best in Show at the AIA Dallas’s 2019 Texas Bark + Build Design/Build competition.
Following the form of a traditional pentagonal post-and-beam structure, the Fetch House is composed of a floor plate, three perpendicular elevations, and a gabled roof. The pattern of the facade is largely based off of the standard dimension of tennis balls, 2.7″ by 2.7″, which are offset and held in compression by plastic armatures. Once inserted, the tennis balls provide the canine inhabitants shade and ventilation by virtue of the structure’s cellular layout.
No two dogs are the same, and the parametric design of the Fetch House allows for owners to customize the dimensions of the doghouse—the digital script used by CallisonRTKL includes plugins for height, weight, and breed. The customizability of the prototype is made simple through the modular fabrication of components, which can be easily snapped together without the aid of any tools or further equipment.
For the design team, materiality was one of the greatest challenges of the prototype and they limited the total number to three types of plastic. “Trying to reduce the amount of print material used without compromising the structural integrity of the design was a challenge as the plastic would react differently depending on the print orientation and final orientation within the grid,” said CallisonRTKL vice president Brendan O’Grady. “We also had to make sure the individual pieces didn’t take too long to print so a number of prototypes were made throughout the design process to optimize the design and fine-tune the print settings.”