Barking mad houses hit Texas this week, as Austin's annual Barkitecture show took place. The event, which raises money for charity, is a showcase for revolutionary modern designs of new homes – for dogs.
Hosted by the Animal Lovers of Austin, Barkitecture 2011 saw houses inspired by barcodes and even wine barrels as the project entered its sixth year. Austin's best designers, architects and builders all submitted doghouses, which were then auctioned off to interested property buyers to support local animal rescue groups.
Doghouse prices began at $250, with silent bids increasing in increments of $50, while prizes such as "Best in Show" and "Best Urban Dwelling" were awarded by a panel of judges, made up of local developers, designers and media outlets. The winner of Best in Show was co-designed by Cesar Millan, widely known for his TV series The Dog Whisperer.
Here are some of the best doghouses that went under the hammer:
Best in Show: Cube House
(Cesar Millan / Spring Builders)
La Casita del Sol
Unleashed – made from real dog leashes
(STG Design / Balflour Beatty Construction / LLC / FlexCo)
The Ramp House
Wine Barrel Bungalow
Austin's auction will be followed by Barkitecture Houston , a separate event, on Friday 14 th and Saturday 15 th October. But Barkitecture isn't just a concept limited to Texas: festivals celebrating custom-built doghouses are held in California and Florida every year, as Americans let their fondness for pet property off the leash.
Given some of the bigger doghouses up for auction (and the $250 starting price), Barkitecture property values could almost match some of America's human-sized houses, as research recently showed that Houston homes have an average price of just $54 per square foot. With house prices staying low across the market and stylish pet accommodation up for auction each year, American real estate is perhaps the only property in the world that can claim to be both dog and man's best friend.
Looking to collar a property bargain?
Browse our pedigree listings of houses, apartments and other overseas property, all designed for humans: