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  • Animal lovers, experts partnering on PACC

    architectsIn late 2017, Pima County residents will have a new animal care center thanks to those voters who authorized the county to borrow up to $22 million for a new facility. It is expected to be a unique building, one people will be excited to visit.

    For one, the new Pima Animal Care Center is being designed with input from a large, vibrant and active group of pet lovers and activists and animal shelter experts. In addition, it is being designed by local architects who rescue pets and/or volunteer at PACC themselves.

    The new building will also stand out because Line and Space is committed to sustainability and remaining true to the desert environment.

    In November 2014, Pima County voters recognized it was time to replace the county’s aging animal shelter with a facility that could better meet the animals’ and public’s needs. Although originally built in 1968 as merely a pound, PACC staff members are now committed to providing animal adoptions, humane animal care and housing, expanded education programs, and broadened community outreach. 

    Fifty-nine percent of voters passed Proposition 415, authorizing the $22 million in bonds. Line and Space, a local architectural firm, was selected to the design the facility and Sundt was selected to build it.

    Line and Space’s Henry Tom is the project manager. Bob Clements is the lead design architect and Mike Anglin is the project architect.

    Anglin is a PACC volunteer who walks dogs, picks up supplies and helps with off-site events. He’s rescued three dogs so far. Clements originally studied veterinary medicine in college and even worked in a veterinary clinic for several months in high school. He designed an animal hospital as part of his senior thesis in architecture school. He has two dogs, one of whom is a medical rescue.

    “Mike began volunteering almost two years ago because he has always loved animals and was inspired to offer more direct support after seeing the incredible changes and improvements at PACC in recent years,” Tom said. “His experience as a volunteer at PACC benefits our team by bringing a deeper understanding of the operations, goals, difficulties, and priorities of the organization.”

    Clements’ time working at a vet clinic gives him a unique perspective and expanded knowledge of the clinic component of PACC, which is especially valuable since this is typically a behind-the-scenes function that is not as easy to gain access to, Tom said.

    Still, Line and Space decided to reach out to two organizations who are national experts in animal shelters, Animal Arts Design and University of California, Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program.

    “Cooperation between architecture firm with different strengths or expertise is quite common.  Our focus was on forming a team that, all together, has the expertise needed to maximize the potential of this important project,” Tom said.

    “All three of our groups share a belief in the critical importance of understanding before designing, and  Animal Arts’ and Koret’s work on hundreds of animal sheltering projects complements Line and Space’s philosophy/approach and support our collaboration with specific relevant experience and knowledge. “

    Because they wanted to better understand PACC’s mission and needs before beginning their work, Line and Space hosted a four-day workshop where they sat down and listed to PACC staff, volunteers and community members’ hopes and dreams.

    “It was clear in the 29 programming sessions that the input we received from the nearly 100 participants was well-thought-out and focused on bettering our community for humans and animals alike,” Tom said.

    Out of those sessions, Tom said the group came away with a clear understanding of what the new facility needs. They are:
    • Great housing for the animals
    • Great spaces for those working at PACC to be able to do their jobs efficiently
    • A connection to nature for both humans and animals
    • Durability
    • The creation of a facility that will be embraced by the community and further the sense of pride Pima County citizens already have for Animal Care Center

    Over the coming months, the architects will take time to thoroughly analyze and understand the natural surroundings.

    “This knowledge helps tell us how our buildings can respond to their contexts in a complementary, sensitive, and respectful way,” Tom said.  “For a project in the Sonoran Desert like PACC, important aspects that reflect this approach and are typically included in our work include proper building orientation and shading from the harsh sun (while still taking advantage of abundant natural light in the building), collection and reuse of water (both rain and greywater) since it is so precious in our region, and the creation of tempered microclimates that expand the use of exterior spaces.”

    The architects will also work sustainability into their plans.

    “Sustainability is a core tenant of our philosophy and influences every part of our thinking as we move through design of a project,” Tom said.  “From our first project, an earth-integrated building, to cutting-edge net-zero energy and zero-discharge designs, many of our projects embrace new approaches to recycling, water harvesting, grey water reuse, and energy generation.”

    Line and Space also educates their clients about the various features “with the hope that by observing a sensitive response and concern for resource conservation, environmental stewardship will be instilled in them,” Tom said.
    Line and Space is excited they’ve been given the opportunity to work on the project, Tom said.

    “Line and Space is passionate about making the new PACC a great place,” Tom said. “We are strong supporters of PACC’s mission and believe in the vital importance PACC has in our community.” 
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