The Dutchess County SPCA was established in 1871 to rescue, shelter and secure permanent homes for animals in the community. The existing building consists of raw, cold and dilapidated CMU block walls and chain link fences. We were approached by the institution to:
1) revamp their image in the community, 2) create a welcoming, safe, open and stress-free environment 3) increase animal holding capacity 4) incorporate opportunities for sustainable design technologies
The project is the first phase of a six phase multi-year project. It is situated within the client's 32.6 acre property and will serve as the entry gate to all future buildings.
Our approach was to completely re-think the typology of animal shelters. We separated functions related to animal rescue from adoption. The existing building to the north provides intake, grooming and veterinary services. The new building to the south provides animal adoption and education facilities.
We organized the plan of the new building with a clear separation between cat and dog holding areas with independent mechanical systems designed to hospital grade quality to prevent odor transfer and cross contamination. Interior glass partitions and glass exterior walls allow natural light to filter into the space. The glass partitions in the dog habitat area contain translucent glass at the bottom to allow for natural light yet prevent animals from seeing each other thereby reducing stress. The expansive square footage was divided into separate interlocking forms to reduce its size to a humanistic scale. All materials and colors were selected to provide a sense of calm and rest.
The new building, with a total area of 11,350 square feet, incorporates all of the functions necessary in the adoption process, including the entry lobby & reception area for all future buildings, administrative offices, conference room, adoption counsel rooms, animal adoption matchmaking rooms, feline and canine holding areas, animal training and exercise rooms, laundry, animal food preparation areas, mechanical and electrical services. This phase also includes the infrastructure necessary for all phases, including access roads and constructed wetlands, incorporating 5 acres of site work.
The site was designed and built with Constructed Wetlands as the wastewater system which allows black and grey water discharges to be fully filtered and decontaminated by microorganisms and plants. The New York State DEC granted approval to discharge directly into the NYS Wetlands after filtration.