Lath House Doghouse

Lath House Doghouse

By Miyoko Ohtake
I was recently in Palm Springs, California, to help judge doghouse designs for BARKitecture CHIQue 2009, a pet-sized architecture competition and auction to benefit Gilda’s Club Desert Cities, a support organization for people whose lives have been affected by cancer. My top pick: the Lath House by John Gilmer Architects.

A lath house typically refers to a garden pavilion created to house seedlings until they grow hearty enough to fend against the elements themselves. John Gilmer’s idea for the Lath House doghouse was to create a similar garden structure that provided both shade and a breeze not for plants, but for pups. Aesthetically, his inspiration came from Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth house. "Designed as a small weekend home, it truly is a pavilion in a garden," Gilmer wrote in accompanying text. "Taking the idea of two floating planes for the floor and roof and substituting walls of lath for the columns and glass walls of the original, I developed a design that was simple, elegant, and practical that provides shelter, shade, and ventilation."

In addition to its sleek simplicity, another factor that drew me to the doghouse was thaematerial choice. Gilmer laminated together two-inch-by-two-inch redwood laths to create the roof and floor and stacked them to create the slated side walls. The change in color from tan to rose is striking, and at the event, a number of the dogs also found it to be a nice place to sit. To view more of Gilmer’s work, visit


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