Architecture should be considered just as much for animals as for people, and Gensler's Houston office definitely got that concept while designing the Don Sanders Adoption Center for Friends For Life. Built into an existing building, this LEED-certified No Kill shelter takes animals into consideration first with specially designed rooms that help reduce stress. Natural daylighting, animal- and people-safe cleaning systems, energy-efficient design, fresh air and special noise-reducing acoustics are all part of the plan for this life-preserving shelter.
The Don Sanders Adoption Center is located in an existing warehouse in an urban, mixed-used community near downtown. Instead of opting for a remote, out-of-town site, an urban location like this places the shelter near where people can access it to encourage more adoptions, volunteer work and donations. Gensler worked closely with Friends For Life and learned from other humane shelters and experts from around the country to renovate the warehouse into a safe space that celebrates life.
The ground floor is dedicated to animals and includes space for utilities, storage, exam rooms and reception. For the dogs, there are kennels and a living room-like area for potential adopters to get to know the pups. The cats enjoy a spacious activity room with lots of room to play and roam. Natural light reaches every room, every animal and even every person. An upper floor provides office space for the FFL staff.
Gensler’s design places the animals first to provide them with a healthy, safe and reduced-stress environment. Besides the natural daylighting, fresh air from the outside is brought in to change 100 percent of the air 15 times an hour. Acoustics were designed to minimize noise and provide a comfortable environment for both animals and humans. A special wet vac cleaning system built into the walls to remove animal waste improves hygiene compared to older systems. Finally the facility makes use of energy efficient systems and 100% animal-safe cleaning products. The project has been awarded a LEED certification and is the only such No Kill shelter of its kind in Texas.
Images Courtesy of Gensler