Seattle Humane’s mission of serving pets in need of shelter and respite was constrained by its small, 1960s-era facility. The organization sought to build a new animal shelter that would increase the number of pets it served while providing a base of operations for their community outreach and educational programs. At 57,000 SF, their new facility does just that, providing shelter for 165 cats and 170 dogs, a 35% increase in capacity. This allows Seattle Humane to take in more pets from high-kill shelters and provides an opportunity to place more pets with adoptive families.
To limit disruptions to operations and programming of this vital community nonprofit, the new building was constructed adjacent to the existing facility on the same site, allowing the shelter to remain open throughout construction.
The site includes a steep slope, which was addressed by creating a three-story facility that uses the grade change to its advantage. Visitors enter the shelter by crossing a pedestrian bridge to the main level, which houses a public adoption center, pet supply store, and the cat colony, where felines up for adoption are available to greet visitors. Downstairs is the shelter’s dog housing, with outdoor access to play yards and dog runs. Beyond the dog housing is staff access for animal intake. The facility’s upper floor houses offices for staff and a large, flexible education space for public events and outreach.
By housing different species and program types on separate floors, the Seattle Humane shelter reduces stress for the animals housed there. Working with an acoustical engineer, the building’s design contains noises and prevents sound from traveling betweenthe floors. The individual kennels are also designed in such a way as to allow privacy for the animals, something that can make a shelter stay much less stressful for dogs and cats.
The new Seattle Humane shelter also houses a veterinary hospital in conjunction with the Washington State University veterinary school. Accessed through a separate entrance on the main floor, this partnership provides a working teaching hospital for students and allows for state-of-the-art care for shelter animals. The shelter also houses an animal food bank that serves homebound community members through delivery options.