Parkhill Participates in Annual Community Pet House Building Event
Written By: Chris Libby
Date: January 12, 2023
Parkhill recently participated in the eighth annual Bark + Build presented by AIA Dallas and TEXO benefiting the SPCA of Texas. This event serves as a collaborative workshop where architect/design firms and contractors work together and bring their best dog or cat habitat ideas for a healthy competition between teams—all for a worthy cause.
Parkhill’s Bark + Build Team, “Barkhill,” included Margaret Ragain, Austen Mathews, Bhakti Joshi, Bryan Sumruld, Chris Mundell, Claire Tulloch, Michael Howard, Ricardo Torres, and Salvador Sanchez. Archer Western Construction was selected as the partnering contractor.
A Simulation With Real-Life Applications
This is the third year that Parkhill has participated in this local community event, but a first for Margaret Ragain, a designer based in the Frisco, Texas office. Serving as a co-captain for the group, she believes she has gained beneficial “on-the-job” experience because of the opportunity to work with people from different sectors within the company, as well as building working relationships with contractors.
“It was interesting to see people’s personalities come out through their designs. People would talk about their dogs, and it spurred a lot of interesting conversations,” she said. “It was a good way to get to know people within architecture but also adjacent to architecture.”
The process, in some respects, represents a simulation to prepare for situations that may be encountered in “real-life” scenarios. Coworkers from different sectors gather to collaborate and bring their respective strengths and skills to the project. Designs are created and put on display for a blind vote to choose a finalist. Once the selection is a made, a design form with rendered views and a design statement is submitted to the Bark + Build board. The collaboration continues with the contracting team until construction is complete.
“It was good exposure for me as the point of contact for talking to contractors and planning things, which was new to me,” she says.
A Cause Close to Home
This year’s project, Temple of the Dog, is a 3-foot by 3-foot doghouse showing in the Teacup Pup category. All entries are put on display for public viewing at NorthPark Center in Dallas, Texas. Eventually, doghouses and cat condos are auctioned off and sent to caring homes. All the proceeds benefit the SPCA of Texas, which is an added benefit for Margaret.
“It was an important and meaningful project for me,” she said. “I have two little rescue dogs and they are precious, so I definitely found some sentiment there.”
Her small dogs, Georgia and Indy, are a big part of her family. Georgia, Maltese Shih Tzu mix, was rescued from Morris Safe House, a non-profit, no-kill rescue facility in Lubbock, Texas. She discovered the nonprofit organization through Parkhill’s Building Community Investment initiative for a donation drive during her student internship.
“This is a cause this I feel passionate about, but it also shows the communities that we work with that we care about them,” Margaret said. “We are not just looking after the architecture side; we really do care about a net positive across the board.”
Building Community to Enhance Lives
Margaret understands how the built environment can even impact our pets. It is important to her to help find solutions that little dogs may face within their own structures so they can feel safe in their own habitations. During this project, she was able to use her skills as a design professional and work together with like-minded individuals to reach a common goal. While this project may have been a contest, there were real-life outcomes that affect the lives of others in a positive way.
Parkhill’s continued dedication to building community is demonstrated in many forms, but most importantly, it is a meaningful mindset that resonates with employees. While Temple of the Dog didn’t win in its category, the "Barkhill” team did win by participating in a collaborative experience inside and outside the company that exemplifies the Building Community mission. Participating in prosocial acts, either individually or as a group, not only contributes to our personal happiness and well-being but can these positive actions create a happier, more productive society and better world to live in.
This year’s project, Temple of the Dog, is a 3-foot by 3-foot doghouse showing in the Teacup Pup category.