The building design and detailing for a new facility for the Michigan Animal Rescue League (MARL) is informed by a core goal of achieving “a different breed of shelter.” The design addresses key spatial and environmental challenges that can lead to unhealthy stress levels for sheltering cats and dogs including natural light levels, noise levels and animal housing design that accommodates freedom of movement and choice.
MARL believes that the quality of the wait for a forever home can make all the difference in the future of an animal. Likewise, the building project challenges animal shelter stereotypes by deploying the use of a central courtyard to provide the adoptable dogs’ neighborhoods with abundant natural light, acoustic control, elimination of “nose to nose” kennels and quality air circulation. The adoptable cats’ rooms include custom developed “condos” based on best practices in animal care to provide air flow, choice, and views of the exterior. The rooms are wrapped with cat shelves that allow for southern exposure “sun-bathing” and continuous circulation around the perimeter of each room. Equally important, the design deploys a strong use of color to maintain MARL’s existing identity while signaling an exciting, forward looking future with an improved facility.