Portfolio: Animal Shelters Friends For Life – Don Sanders Adoption Center Location Houston Client Friends For Life Architect Gensler Design Team Hal Sharp, AIA; Allison Hughes; Eric Summers-Perry, AIA; Edward Muth, AIA; Brandon Hendricks, Assoc. AIA Photographer Aker Imaging It’s not often that design is literally a matter of life or death, but that was the case for the 8,250sf Friends For Life (FFL) no-kill animal shelter in Houston. Located in a repurposed warehouse in Houston’s Heights neighborhood, the Genslerdesigned shelter houses cats and dogs as well as office space for staff and volunteers. Recognizing that every square inch of usable space that could be eked out of the plan equated to another animal life that could be saved, the design team focused on creating the most efficient plan possible. They were also committed to promoting positive interactions between the animals, their caretakers, and the environment, so “green” building was prioritized as well. of the building to make it comfortable, clean, and restorative for animal and human occupants alike. The shelter includes an HVAC system that introduces 100 percent fresh air 15 times per hour and acoustics that are comfortable for all. Its interiors are filled with natural light, and an in-wall wet/dry vacuum cleaning system keeps all areas hygienic. Care was taken with every detail 104 Texas Architect 11/12 2013 The facility is the first LEED-certified shelter in Houston and one of only a handful in the nation. Seventy five percent of the animals adopted through the FFL program fall into the “unadoptable” category in other shelters due to their breed, behavior, age, or health, but the organization is on a mission to redefine what an animal shelter is and what it means to be “adoptable.” FFL advocates a broader and more compassionate approach; namely, that “Every Animal Matters,” and its new facility is a reflection of that noble mission.