To benefit the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, three one-of-a-kind designer doghouses are up for bid in the second annual “arfITECTURE” auction this month.The fundraiser is the brainchild of 15-year-old Sagaponack resident Luke Louchheim, the son of ARF board member Summer Louchheim and her husband, Joseph, the former publisher of The Press and the chief financial officer for the media company that owns the Press newspapers and The Sag Harbor Express.
“Our two dogs, Sam and Buttercup, are both from ARF, and we adopted them a while ago. And, in the meantime, I also got an interest in architecture,” Luke said Friday, recalling the origins of arfITECTURE. “So I wanted to do something for ARF, and I wanted to include architecture, because I have a great passion for it.”
For the inaugural auction last year, Luke, now a freshman at Pierson High School, enlisted East End architects. “Almost everybody I have approached throughout the entire project was totally happy to do it,” he said. “I think they’re all just keen to help the community.”
The result in 2018 was nine doghouses, one “cat condo” — and more than $30,000 raised for ARF. Just one bidder bought about half of them, Luke said.
This year, Luke approached renowned designers with local connections: Robert Wilson, the founder of the Watermill Center, an avant-garde arts laboratory in Water Mill; fashion designer Donna Karan and daughter Gabby Karan de Felice of Tutto il Giorno and Urban Zen in Sag Harbor; and Steven Gambrel, an interior designer and furniture designer based in the West Village, who credits Sag Harbor as his biggest design influence.
“When Luke had asked us … we were thrilled to do it,” Ms. de Felice said, “because we love creativity, we love design, coming from a background of having a space that we created in the heart of Sag Harbor, which is about design and things that we love of artisans.”
She and her daughter, Stefania, 16, are also ARF supporters, Ms. de Felice added. Their dog, Enzo, a Lab-shepherd mix, is a rescue from ARF.
Ms. Karan and Ms. de Felice’s Turks and Caicos homes inspired their doghouse, “K9 Zen x Tutto Pavilion.”
Ms. de Felice said they worked with Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture, which has done their restaurants, and Men at Work Construction to manifest their dreams of making a beautiful doghouse for a great cause.
“K9 Zen x Tutto Pavilion,” made with natural and charred cedar, plus white oak, has three steps up to a pavilion, offering dogs a shady, breezy space for respite.
“We got Gabby’s dog Enzo to take a picture in it, and he loved it,” Luke said. “We couldn’t get him out.”
Mr. Gambrel worked with New Day Woodwork and Lido Stone Works on “Consoling the Pup,” made of honed black granite and wood. It is in the style of a console table.
“My inspiration for my doghouse was years of watching dogs find shelter under tables and semi-enclosed spaces,” Mr. Gambrel said in an email. “I figured if I designed a good-looking console-style doghouse with a durable stone top, it might actually find a home to serve canines and their human companions.”
Luke approached Mr. Wilson about contributing to arfITECTURE after learning during a visit to the Watermill Center that he is a furniture designer. “I thought it would be a really good fit,” Luke said.
Mr. Wilson’s “Doghouse” is the only one of the three designs to look like a miniature house. It is modeled after a classical American clapboard house, with a red cedar roof and siding, poplar trim, and marine-grade plywood. He partnered with Blaze Makoid Architecture and Artisan Construction Associates on the project.
All three doghouses will be on display at the Madoo Conservancy in Sagaponack through Friday, August 16. Each doghouse has a starting bid of $3,000 at paddle8.com/auction/arf/.
The final chance to bid will come during the Bow Wow Meow Ball on Saturday, August 17, at the ARF Adoption Center in Wainscott. The benefit will begin at 6:30 p.m., and tickets start at $750. For more information, visit arfhamptons.org.
Luke said that he cut back from 10 to three doghouses this year because he knew that, entering high school, he would have less time than he did when he was in middle school. Whether arfITECTURE returns for a third year remains to be seen.
“I am going to boarding school, and I don’t think I’ll be able to do the project myself,” Luke said. “But I hope that ARF or someone will be able to pick up the project and continue it.”
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