This pooch pad is a part of architectural history.
A canine retreat designed by one of America’s most respected architects has found a fur-ever home in California.
“Through a generous donation, the County of Marin has acquired a real doghouse designed by one of the best-known architects in American history,” says a press release regarding the permanent installation of the hound hutch in the cafeteria of a San Rafael civic center this May.
The dog house was donated by a man named Jim Berger, who grew up in the Wright-designed Berger House in nearby San Anselmo, which his parents — Robert and Gloria Berger — commissioned Wright to design in the early 1950s. Shortly after moving in, in 1956, Jim made a Wright commission of his own. The then-12-year-old wrote to the visionary to ask if he might build a smaller home to complement the family’s Usonian-style one for their new golden retriever, Eddie.
Wright complied the following year and, for no additional charge, sketched a 4-square-foot doghouse on the back of an envelope. When an older Jim joined the army in 1963, his father and brother built the dog house based on Wright’s sketch.
Despite the design pedigree, Eddie was not a fan, “preferring to sleep in the warmth of the main house.” In 1970, Gloria Berger sent the doghouse to the dump. (Wright himself passed away in 1959.)
Skip 40 years into the future: In 2010, Jim and his son rebuilt the doghouse for a documentary film about Wright.
Despite being rejected by its sole resident, the structure does serve as a good example of many characteristic Wright details that are not as immediately noticeable in his larger designs. For example, the structure is triangular, the low-pitched roof features an exaggerated overhang — and, as with many Wright designs, the roof leaked.
“The doghouse remains the smallest structure Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed and is now on permanent view at the Marin County Civic Center, Wright’s largest existing building,” the release states. “In 1952, after 69 years in architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright designed one of the most charming buildings of his entire career…a doghouse for Eddie.”