rural studio # 7 animal shelter
This is a look into one of Rural Studio’s more recently completed projects, The Hale County Animal Shelter. For some reason I missed the press about this project and did not know about it. The tours consisted of more driving than seeing projects due to the rural nature of the area. When we went sailing past this one in our cars I knew it had to be a Rural Studio project. Luckily we doubled back and I got to visit this treat as well.
It sits directly in front of a county jail and at first glance it appears as part of the vernacular of farming storage buildings and hay sheds. As you move past it you realize the beauty and complexity of this seemingly simple out building.
The Students used the cross braced Lamella structural system to shelter the animals. The challenge was to build a large building with off-the-shelf lumber. Keep in mind that students built this and not professional carpenters. Each piece is hand hand cut to fit in its particular spot. (I am sure that free student labor is the only reason that the structure could have been built as is) As you can imagine this was the longest running student construction project that the Rural Studio has had. The process began in 2005 with an intense 6 months of planning and is has just recently been ready for move in which will occur this summer.
The lamella structure makes the construction appear heavy but that is counteracted as the vault elegantly hovers over the landscape on steel feet. The skylight and long horizontal slits also begin to make it appear lighter.
The cat cages:
The dog are kept in between the offices and cat shelters which are towards the openings of each end. It is open airebut the concrete slab is heated in the winter. I imagine that the majority of it being open to breezes will be nice for the dogs and keep the smell less potent than most shelters. The skylights are positioned so that the animals will be shaded in the summer and get direct sunlight during the winter.