In Aranya, China, Atelier GOM fashioned an animal-oriented hotel that goes beyond merely accommodating canines to consider their various quirks.

Key features 

Kennels, a pet-friendly hotel in Aranya, China, was born from a conversation between the owner Yin Ma and Atelier GOM lead architect and dog owner, Zhang Jiajing. The hotel goes beyond merely accommodating dogs; it was built from the ground up with canines in mind. The design pointedly considers the behaviour of animals, including their propensities to urinate to mark territory, to bark disruptively and to tussle with unfamiliar dogs upon meeting. Atelier GOM tackled the latter point by eschewing the traditional hotel layout of rooms fed by corridors in favour of independent units with separate entrances and exits. Stacked like building blocks, the units resemble a series of giant kennels. 

Inside, the guest rooms are designed to suit different human-dog and family dynamics. Each has a lower living area and a mezzanine floor with a bedroom, both with their own bathroom. Small windows on the façade – the result of fire staircase specifications – double as dog-friendly apertures for observing the outdoors. These windows, believe the designers, can help to alleviate separation anxiety when dogs are left alone in the room.

To support its seaside site, the construction is sprayed with a transparent polyurea coating. This waterproof seal not only protects the hotel from rain and frost heave but also prevents dog urine from corroding the concrete. Resilience and pet-friendliness are also reflected in the landscape design: the inner courtyard is paved with low-maintenance, easy-to-clean stones, while the hotel’s west side features a pet play lawn. 

Frame’s take 

This project is an example of how targeting a niche group can help hotels stand out in a saturated market. That said, pet-friendly hospitality is becoming less niche. As we reported last year, a rise in pet ownership is altering the industry’s offerings. And in China, the pet industry is booming. As stated in an article in China Business Review, from 2015 to 2020, the country’s pet-related consumer goods category achieved 32.8 per cent growth. And in the past decade, China’s entire pet economy – which includes food, toys and supplies, as well as the pets themselves – has grown by an enormous 1,500 per cent. With more pets in general and their owners spending more on them, we can expect to see many more animal-oriented accommodations in the future. The question is, will owners enjoy the space as much as the animals? At Kennels, the profusion of concrete has a practical reason but hardly creates a homely atmosphere from the outside. Predominantly wood interiors, however, help to balance things out.