The Northwest’s largest animal welfare agency could no longer meet the demands of our it’s growing community.  The non-profit agency embarked on a campaign to replace its 56-year-old facility with a new shelter to care for lost or abandoned animals, promote adoptions and offer companion animal education classes.

The client pointed out many design flaws of their old facility and ones of other newer facilities that they toured.  Those flaws were identified and eliminated.  A climate in Southwestern Idaho mandated this facility be a self-contained shelter; dog runs that are completely interior, not interior/exterior.  This allows for a more efficient HVAC system, which became the design basis for the shelter.

The 28,5000 SF shelter is bisected by an elevated mechanical “spine” running north and south reaching into the self-contained wards branching off on either side, with separate HVAC systems/controls for each area.

Spaces are placed by function, with circulation channels separating public from private areas.  An education/faculty office wing is separated from the main shelter for three reasons.  One, allowing for the ability to double the number of dog wards to the south, and not “land lock” the design.  Two, it gives faculty and workers a clean break from the stresses of dealing with the volume of barking dogs.  Three, visitors attending classes in the large education room can be accessed separately, enhancing security of the shelter.

Being self-contained, our major design challenge was solved.  Dogs are contained in smaller wards and isolation + quarantined animals are separated from adoptable ones.  20-air exchanges per hour at each ward keeps odor and germ transmission from occurring.

External forms were derived from the vernacular of the surrounding area: a nearby airfield with buildings of corrugated metal, barrel vault roof forms; clerestory windows.  Important elements were identified and integrated into the design to complement the neighboring buildings and set precedent for future development.

In keeping with this approach, an industrial interpretation in design flows from the exterior into the interior of the shelter.  A barrel vault roof form over the dog wards resulted to allow for the elevated mechanical spine to branch into the spaces.

These building types take tremendous abuse due to the volume of bleach solvent high pressure cleaning that takes place and HVAC use.  20-25 years is often the life expectancy for Animal Shelters.  This building is opened in 1996.  IHS has purchased a new 10-acre parcel and is capital campaign fundraising for a new multi-building campus to support the Treasure Valley Communities.

The IDAHO HUMANE SOCIETY received the American Institute of Architects Idaho Chapter Award of Honor in 1998.

*In-Association with Hummel

Gregory A. Ugrin  AIA NCARB

Design Architect (Hummel 1994 – 2014)