From the Pound to The Park

Gary Lewis

April 20, 2020

A new breed of animal services facilities is coming to the County of Santa Clara. Although the county seat is in San Jose, the location is on a campus with other county buildings in the City of San Martin, which is decidedly more rural.

Kennel Arrangement
Taking a distinct departure from conventional animal shelter design, the County of Santa Clara’s new Animal Services Center rethinks the standard arrangement of kennel locations and their relationship to adopters. There are three main architectural issues with the traditional set-up:

1. Typically, the animals are placed toward the back of the building to allow for ‘front of house’ activities such as a lobby or gathering areas.

2. The standard long corridor creates visibility issues for animals that happen to be in kennels at the end of the run.

3. ‘Get Acquainted’ rooms are usually hermetic spaces and do not allow for a playful interaction between potential adopter and animal.

In response to these back of house configuration challenges, the County of Santa Clara’s animals are brought to the ‘front of house’ and are in a circular organization for all visitors to see.

At the center of this circle, an outdoor landscaped courtyard deemed ‘The Park’ creates a new type of Get Acquainted room outside each pod of kennels. The experience offers a bright and open area to meet and greet potential pets in a park-like environment. From the pound to ‘The Park’, the Animal Services Center creates a new type of cultural institution destination.

Gabled Roof Line
Since this project is located within a predominantly rural context, rural building types are more common than not. Five gable roofs are extruded across the site and intersect with the program ‘blocks’.

This intersection of program blocks and gable extrusions result in a building formed by peaks and valleys. The extrusions continue into the landscape and set the form into its rural context – undulating forms of both building and landscape. The undulating roof also doubles as a solar power generator that will power the facility.

The striking look and visible location will also help draw potential adopters to the facility as a destination.

Subscribe to learn about our latest projects, news + updates.