Established to care for neglected and abandoned animals, shelters have been in service for nearly 150 years in the U.S. Although these institutions provide a kind service, there is often little funding, and they rank with less priority among the majority population. As a result, they can take on an appearance of neglect. Often times, these institutions conjure imagery of dank, dirty and lonely kennels. The Westside German Shepherd Rescue in Los Angeles, CA, has made an effort to change the mold of the out-dated, run-down look of some shelters, creating a cozy “re-homing” facility for dogs to stay and a comfortable space for potential adopters to visit.
When given the opportunity to turn a one-story, 9,000-square-foot warehouse space into a shelter for German Shepherds, it was decided that this will be a different kind of facility that will serve to not only shelter, but nurture. Rania Alomar of RA-DA Architects in West Hollywood, CA, was chosen to design the facility. “The goal for the project was to create a new kind of environment surrounding the adoption of pets,” explained Alomar. To allow for more space in the shelter, a second story was added, increasing the square footage to 10,800. “This environment would encourage the idea of ‘re-homing,’” the designer continued. “Rather than rescuing an abandoned animal, the patron is adopting it from one home into another home, hence the residential aesthetic for the facility. We strove for a unique level of comfort and sophistication for the animals, the staff and the visitors.”