One of my clients, Rhodes Architecture + Light, is a loyal supporter of the ASPCA, and has often shaped living spaces to accommodate the needs and lifestyles of both humans and their furry companions. Their houses acknowledge our pets as integral members of the households that care for them and seek to create environments that cater to their well-being while maintaining the human functionality and aesthetics of the space. Below are some of the issues that Rhodes Architecture + Light considers when designing a home for pets and their people.
1. Pet friendly materials: Selecting materials that are durable, easy to clean and resistant to scratching or chewing is important in pet (and child) friendly architecture. Flooring such as concrete is scratch resistant and durable. It is also part of a passive design strategy that offers the whole household warmth in the winter and a cool surface in the summer.
2. Incorporating pet areas: Architectural spaces that include built-in feeding stations, beds and washing stations. Catios (cat patios) provide dedicated space for cats to climb, explore and safely sharpen their claws.
3. Spatial planning: Thoughtful special planning can involve placing pet areas near access to the outside but away from the road. Well-designed access doors lead to protected, fenced areas such as the backyard or dog run. Access doors that open to dedicated pet spaces aid in cleaning.
4. Natural light and views: Pets, like their humans, benefit from exposure to natural light and views. For example, natural light helps people and pets regulate circadian rhythms, promoting better sleep and overall health. Low windows allow even the shortest Corgi a view of the squirrels, and skylights create irresistible warm patches of sunlight for pets to curl up in.
5. Indoor air quality: Good ventilation is vital for people and pets alike, especially when either struggles with allergies or respiratory issues. Fans help keep air circulating and open doors and windows provide healthy and soothing cross ventilation while filters built into central hvac can dramatically improve indoor air quality.
6. Multifunctional spaces: Some design elements can benefit pets and humans, for example, a window seat begs for a good book and a cat on your lap.
The relationship between pets and architecture involves creating environments that harmoniously accommodate the needs and preferences of both pets and the people who love them. Thoughtful design can seamlessly integrate pet-friendly elements into the overall design aesthetic of a space.
“We have this gorgeous skylight that brings in all this light and it’s amazing to watch how the light patterns change as the season changes. Our dogs love finding the pool of light and taking a nap.” Rhodes Architecture + Light Homeowner
Article first published on the Rhodes Architecture + Light blog.