Backpage An Alternative Animal Shelter by Catherine Gavin T he City of Houston takes in approximately 26,000 strays or unwanted animals yearly; however, fewer than 10 percent of adoptable animals are placed into homes. In order to significantly increase the adoption rate, the city sought to provide an appealing and effective smaller-scale but high-volume animal adoption outlet. proposed a flexible, innovative high-performance building for the Ann Young Animal Adoption Facility. Sited along Bray’s Bayou, the 24,000-sf complex comprises three buildings housing the adoption facility, community spaces for animal awareness and public outreach, and veterinary services. The dog park on the property enhances the community atmosphere while providing a real amenity for the area. English + Associates Amenities such as outdoor seating and a dog park would encourage community activity in and around the animal shelter. 124 Texas Architect 11/12 2013 The architects sought to create the smallest environmental impact possible and so designed the center as a LEED Platinum-certified structure. The challenges of building in the area — including inconsistent soil samples, buried construction debris from years of local development, garbage from upstream, and In order to significantly increase the adoption rate, the city sought to provide an appealing and effective smaller-scale but highvolume animal adoption outlet. illegal dumping — informed the placement of the building on the site, and all finishes were selected for their durability and aesthetics. Exterior building finishes include natural zinc panels and masonry, and the elevated portions of the boardwalk are clad with Accoya wood. The dog and cat rooms feature hard-surface floors, including epoxy, and the corridors and other public areas are finished with polished concrete. English + Associates’ design represented an alternative to traditional animal adoption models. Unfortunately, the City of Houston, working in conjunction with a nonprofit organization, redefined the project, and this proposal did not move forward.