Students construct deluxe dog houses for 'Build Day'

Happening draws news media attention,
inaugurates college's Architecture Ranch


Don't be surprised if you see palatial digs of the canine variety on an upcoming segment of "Lifestyles of the Furry and Famous." On Saturday, Nov. 22 more than 300 Texas A&M University construction science students strapped on their tool belts and built 50 deluxe "pet palaces" as part of the Department of Construction Science's Build Day competition.

The "Pet Palace Project,” spearheaded by construction science instructor Audrey Tinker, was held at the College of Architecture's 16-acre spread at Texas A&M University's Riverside Campus.

The opulent pet homes, designed for Tinker’s construction materials and methods class, were assembled at the event and later donated to the Brazos County Animal Shelter and the Houston Humane Society. Both groups are planning to auction the homes at future fund-raising events.

The doghouse designs included an elaborate Victorian-style home, a few oriental-styled buildings, a modern, split-level structure and even a miniature replica of the landmark Texas Aggie Barn near Calvert.

Since students were required to have all of their materials cut and ready to assemble at the site, the College of Architecture's woodshop was abuzz with preparation the week before for the event, Tinker noted. The finished structures were required to be no larger than four feet in height, width and depth, but the students were allowed to use any materials as long as the cost did not exceed $50.

Thanks to a generous 10 percent discount on building materials from Lowes Home Improvement Warehouse, Tinker said students were able to stretch their pet palace investment. Kolache Rolf's, a local eatery, also donated 12 dozen kolaches to get the students rolling in the morning.

The Build Day/Pet Palace Project was the first event held on the future site of the College of Architecture's "Architecture Ranch." Though still on the drawing board, the college has plans to invest $1 million into the site's development. The 16-acre site will soon be a testing ground for college research initiatives and student projects in construction, design, planning, landscape architecture and art.

The Riverside Campus is located on the west side of Highway 47, just south of the junction with Highway 21.


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