LEED Gold animal shelter opens in L.A.
Los Angeles’ North Central Animal Care Center has officially become the first LEED Gold certified animal shelter in the United States. An extensive remodel of the Center, first constructed in the early 1970s, was unveiled in October of 2006. Originally awarded silver certification, the addition of more sustainable features and their documentation has recently led to LEED Gold status confirmation by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
The remodeled facility was designed by ChoyAssociates, in collaboration with Tracy A. Stone Architect. Located in a semi-industrial area of Los Angeles, on Lacy Street, the site had existed for over 30 years as a shelter and spay-neuter clinic with 73 kennels. Costing over eight million dollars, the remodel project was funded by the voter-approved Animal Bond initiative in November 2000. The goal of the bond was to provide an increased level of humane and compassionate treatment for animals in the Los Angeles area. As the first shelter completed under this initiative, it one of the most advanced animal facilities in the nation – and now adds LEED Gold to its achievements.
The remodel project added 176 new kennels, various small animal holding facilities, a detached behavioral assessment room and new training yards. The innovative design and engineering of this center focus on successful adoptions by creating an environment that is healthy for the animals, enticing to visitors and environmentally sound.
The new facility adjoins the existing facility and continuity between the two is achieved by complementary architectural details: the new facility is fronted by a long, curving wall clad in locally-salvaged redwood siding. The wall is broken up by multiple glass panels, each featuring a scene of illustrated animals. The art-glass enclosures were created by Sylvia Tidwell and Calvin Abe and are the public art component of the project. Drought-tolerant planting is used throughout the facility; along the curving wall and inside in various raised planters. The landscape design is by Cornerstone Studios.
In its focus on sustainability, Choy and Stone specified innovative photovoltaic panels to both shade the kennel walkways and provide almost 100% of the energy used by the Center. There is radiant heating in each kennel for the animals’ cold-weather comfort and an outdoor misting system for use in warm weather. The addition of several fountains satisfies multiple needs: another cooling device and an audible intervention for animal noise. They are also a pleasing feature for visitors to the center.
At the opening of the shelter, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa commented, “This facility is an example of what can be done with the combination of vision, compassion and creativity. This expanded, modernized Animal Care Center will serve as the centerpiece to move towards a more humane animal care policy.”
Collaborating architect Tracy Stone adds to the Mayor’s comments: “I feel that this shelter will redefine the term ‘animal shelter’ by creating an environment that is a showcase for responsible, sustainable design that promotes adoptions in its welcoming environment for visitors and provides a more humane environment for both animals and staff.”
Find more information on Los Angeles Animal Services here.