Agility Desk

Barkitecture is an architectural contest with a unique twist! The event is a key part of the Goodwoof event which invites select international architects to design a cutting-edge kennel, this year’s title was ‘A Companion Piece – Dogs at Work’. Not our usual fare but we love a challenge, and this was a fun design project we could all get stuck into, including Archi.

Our entry is a dual function ‘Agility Desk’ – conceived as a multifunctional desk that humans can work at, and a place for dogs to snuggle, play and hunt for treats. Our desk looks for positive ways for humans and dogs to remain close and interact throughout the day.

During the pandemic many people got used to having their dogs with them while they worked, or indeed they got themselves a dog for company over this time, and we have all noted the benefits of this companionship has had on our wellbeing. Since lockdown has been lifted, many of us now find ourselves with an increased numbers of canines in our workplaces, and now the issue is how we keep our furry friends close to us but also entertained throughout the day.

“We love having dogs in our studio. They bring excitement, energy and companionship to the team and visitors alike. Research (and experience) shows that they help reduce stress while increasing cognitive ability and productivity in the office. Increased interaction between pets and humans increases the hormone oxytocin, the same hormone that links a mother and her baby, known as the feel good hormone. This suggests that dogs should not only be brought to work but that they should be integrated into the way we plan our days.” Simon commented.

Our design concept has taken a fresh look at the humble desk – how can our dogs play, enjoy mental stimulation and be close to us as we work? In response we have designed the Agility Desk, a dual functioning piece of furniture which is firstly a place for humans to work at, and secondly (perhaps most importantly) it is a place for dogs to play with an obstacle course-style (incorporates a tunnel, poles for weaving and a seesaw for dogs to enjoy throughout the day) and to snuggle or sleep.

Visitors to Goodwoof will be able to view all of the entries, curated by Kevin McCloud, and their dogs can test the prototypes, which will be auctioned on May 21 in aid of Pets As Therapy.

Project status:  Feasibility