Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Palm Springs Animal Care Facility by Swatt | Miers Architects
June 10th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Swatt | Miers Architects
The Palm Springs Animal Care Facility represents a unique public/private partnership between the City and Friends of the Shelter. Located on a 3 acre site across from the City’s Demuth Park, the exterior design reflects Palm Springs’ unique mid-century architectural heritage. While creating an Animal/People Community Center ambiance the facility features a central indoor/outdoor kennel design with public adoption access within an inviting garden courtyard equipped with misters and fabric shade structures. Also included are indoor cat community rooms, special canine “living rooms” adjacent to an indoor/outdoor socialization area, a training room for educational and community evening uses, and a fully equipped clinic for in-house medical procedures. The project has been designed as an equivalent “silver” LEED facility with a special emphasis on water conservation, wherein recycled water from the adjacent sewage treatment plant is used for cleaning all animal areas and for landscape irrigation.
1) Budget, Fundraising and Future Expansion – As the “star power” allure of Palm Springs shifted to Las Vegas in the 1960’s and the focus of new development moved to the other eastern desired cities of Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage and La Quinta, Palm Springs’ economy stagnated and public improvements were largely curtailed. A new Animal Shelter has been needed in Palm Springs for 60 years but funds (and the political will) were not available until the non profit Friends of the Shelter stepped forward to help raise money. The result was a public/private partnership between the City and Friends and a change in the political climate which made the project a community priority to move forward. Notwithstanding the combined public and private fund raising, there was a $2 million shortfall when the project commenced which led to a phased masterplan design including multiple bid alternates. At the time of public bidding, the “Base” project budget was $6,000,000 with a future expansion kennel area and several rooms “shelled” for future expansion. The bid came in under budget which allowed the shelled areas to be built out in phase I. As the project neared completion and the public began to see the end product, fund raising increased and other internal amenities such as equipment were added. Once the building opened to community acclaim in mid October 2011, several neighboring cities asked to contract with the shelter for animal services. The result is that the future expansion kennel design will now take place in 2012 – 2013.
2) Green Building Design – The City of Palm Springs has a strong green building program. However, due to the budget constraints noted above, funds were limited to execute many of the desired green and energy efficient features. This led to the following green building strategy;
Given this overall green building strategy, the project as currently designed without PV’s would qualify as Silver. With the full PV design, the project would be Gold bordering on Platinum.
This state-of-the-art Companion Animal Facility integrates traditional mid-century desert design motif’s with modern, state-of-the-art Animal Care habitats and support systems. The project plan is a mirror of the desired operational flow of people and animals into and out of the facility organized around a central Canine Adoption Garden shaded by fabric overhangs and cooled by misters. The exterior design features a sweeping roof overhang oriented towards the San Jacinto Mountain range which both announces and shades three main public entrances – the Main Public Adoption Lobby, the Intake Lobby and the Education Center – each of which overlooks the City’s actively used Demuth Park. These entrances serve the following needs;
1) The Main Adoption/Business center; is where adoptions, licensing and related business activities occur.
2) Public Intake is located next to the Adoption Entrance for the admittance of stray and surrendered animals so as to reduce the risk of disease transfer. The reception desks of these two entrances are backed up internally so that minimal staff can service either lobby.
3) The after-hours Education Center/Classroom entrance is a community oriented multi-purpose room. The design places restrooms between the classroom and Adoption Center, which allows the rest of the facility to be secured after hours while community programs and/or humane education classes are in use.
Construction Materials – Steel post and beam/metal stud shearwall system with cement plaster exterior walls featuring a vertical “raked” finish. Interior public areas include stained concrete and painted drywall with exposed black lamtec wrapped ceiling insulation. Animal areas feature materials selected for their long term durability due to the facility’s extensive cleaning (animal areas twice daily) and the abuse from dogs who like to chew. These materials include epoxy resin floors and walls, non-absorptive acoustical ceilings, and extensive stainless steel casework and other protective devices.
Building Systems – 100% outside air Aon roof top units with heat recovery wheels for animal and medical areas. The chemical cleaning system features a unique central pump system with 1200 psi capacity (by Spray Masters Technology) wherein recycled water is mixed in a central cleaning room and then pumped through 1” stainless steel tubing to Remote Control Units (RCU’s). Portable hoses with quick coupler connections are then attached and used by staff. All cleaning water and irrigation is provided by “recycled water” from the adjacent sewage treatment facility. The plumbing system features a trapless drain arrangement designed to eliminate standing water in drains ( and, hence, odor) which is activated by power flush controls. The building also features a piped oxygen gas system in its medical area.
Expansion – The plan has been arranged to allow for future expansion of kennels and support areas to the east (see floor plan). The structure and electrical system has been designed to support future photovoltaics.
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