Dissertation series: Dogs are our clients too

Image of dog on table
Publication date:

Contrary to the belief that dissertations can be boring or tedious, the students in this series use their final study as an opportunity to explore a subject close to their hearts. They prove dissertations can be a chance to delve deep into a topic that ignites your imagination.

Using ingenuity and creativity, these BA (Hons) Architecture students use their work to ask important questions and develop their own unique way of interpreting the world around them.

Here student Alexander Moran explains why he chose dog-based design as the subject for his dissertation. He explores why our loyal four-legged friends should be considered too when designing our environment. 

A dog walks around an office

Alexander Moran "Dogs Are Our Clients Too'

Bark’s Ohio Office - An office space designed by NBBJ which features dog specific design. 

Photograph by: Sean Airhart and Chuck Choi. 

Exhibition about architecture for dogs

Alexander Moran "Dogs Are Our Clients Too'

Architecture for dogs exhibition - Japan House, London. Image courtesy of Japan House London.

Image of dog on table

Alexander Moran "Dogs Are Our Clients Too'

Atelier About Architecture - Beijing House features a storey for a disabled dog. Found at: https://www.dezeen.com/2018/07/23/atelier-about-architecture-dog-house-beijing-china/ Photograph by Sun Haiting.

Dissertation title:

Dogs are our clients too: Why a dog’s participation in human social life should be a considered factor when designing apartment complexes


Alexander Moran

Last year I got a German Shepard while living in a one-bedroom flat in London. Of course, there were challenges I had prepared myself for, but one that took me completely by surprise was the way my dog and I had to learn to share the space with each other.

As an architect, this was something that intrigued me. It led me to delve deeper into non-human architecture and keeping animals in mind when designing spaces. By looking into my own personal life and interests, I was able to turn this into a feasible topic for my final year dissertation; should animals, dogs in particular, be a factor we take into account when designing?

My paper was based on researching the historical change in the bond between humans and dogs, the policies and issues related to animals and humans living together, and analysing case studies where spaces have been designed with dogs in mind.

When researching the strong bond between humans and dogs, I came across the case of Mayor Max, The canine mayor of Idyllwild, California, and the relationship between millennials and dogs. I also looked into topics such as sound-proofing materials, dog health, and sustainability.

By expanding my knowledge and understanding of these topics, I concluded that because of our uniquely strong companionship with dogs, taking them into account when designing apartments should be necessary.

Using a strict schedule I kept myself to, my working process was mainly based on researching relevant books, articles, and case studies and applying them to my topic. This really helped me with my organisation and time-management.

In general, my dissertation topic not only gave me a chance to deeply research something I was personally invested in, but also think further about non-human architecture, and learn more about my future responsibilities as an architect.