Residential architects who specialize in the hot, humid, southern climate

Dog Trot


The dog trot is a traditional southern venacular form also known as "two pens and a passage". One room was typically used for sleeping and the other for cooking. The open center passage was the main sitting room that was cooled naturally by the Bernoulli effect. The center passage was often used as the dog kennel and thus the name dog trot.

Dog trots are found in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas. The dog trot above is from the Historic American Building Survey located in the Library of Congress, it is Thornhill Plantation , Greene County, Alabama The drawing is by Kent McWilliams, 1935 and the photo is by Alex Bush, 1935

Recently we have been experimenting with the dog trot form for contemporary houses. Our mild winters are ideal for outdoor living. The Crobsy residence is a true dog trot with the master bedroom in one "pen" and the great room and kitchen in the other "pen". The center passage serves as a large sitting room. The house is currently under construction and whenever we are at the job site at lunch time, every worker is sitting in the center passage enjoying the breeze.