Galveston County Animal Resource Center
Texas City, Texas

While more than doubling the capacity of their existing shelter to house homeless animals in a new facility, Galveston County sought also to encourage public interaction to increase adoption rates. Its playful animal-like entry canopy, with its curved roof and walking leg columns, draws visitors in. The whimsical theme continues in the lobby, where oversized cat and dog cutouts greet visitors. Large exercise yards where dogs can be seen were placed up front to excite interest from potential adopters. Other animals are displayed behind glass in an odor-free, mall-like environment. Outdoor areas called "catios" allow families to get acquainted with the cats. Dogs are housed in indoor/outdoor kennels that provide lots of fresh air and light. Outdoor trails enable staff members to walk dogs on leashes, promoting their health and adoptability.

Materials were selected throughout the facility to be not only maintenance free but also durable - able to withstand the wear and tear from animal use. Concrete masonry units, aluminum frames and brightly colored epoxy coatings allow for easy cleaning, yet also delight visitors as they are approaching the building.

Sustainable design features include plentiful daylighting and water-conserving high-pressure washers. Although initially slated for teardown, the existing shelter is being renovated to provide animal intake and quarantine - a cost-effective and resource-conservative approach to fulfilling these critical functions.

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