IKM Inc

Animal Friends Resource Center


Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Completion: 2006
Project Area: 30,000 ft2
Services: Architecture


Animal Friends challenged IKM Architects to redefine the concept of animal shelter. Innovation and revolutionary attitudes toward animal care were developed through a collaborative approach to create a new “community resource center” – not just a shelter or adoption site – as the home for this non-profit organization. The new 30,000 square foot facility nearly triples the amount of space the ‘no-kill’ shelter had in its Strip District location.

The 13.5-wooded acre property in Pittsburgh’s North Hills provides the ideal site. A new weathering-steel bridge to accommodate the flood plain greets visitors and announces the arrival to a truly unique location. More than 1.5 miles of walking trails, outdoor play yards and re-use of an existing gazebo capitalize on the beauty of the well-groomed site. Ample parking adjacent to the facility is a small luxury only the long-time staff can genuinely appreciate.

Green concepts were explored and to the extent possible were incorporated in the design. The building siting took advantage of the solar path, framing of selective views and preserving mature trees on the site grounds. The use of floor to ceiling energy efficient windows and skylights allow abundant day lighting creating a light, bright interior for every space.  Energy efficient systems and sustainable materials were evaluated and incorporated.  The use of motion sensor lights and programmable building control systems also contributed to the energy conservation initiatives of the client.

Impressive 24-foot high ceilings are painted periwinkle blue. Skylights and floor to ceiling windows allow an abundance of natural light and views to the wooded location. Light and bright yellows, soft blues, cheery orange and earthy green on the walls and wide clutter-free hallways give the center a spacious, happy feeling.

The state of the art facility includes the first-ever, in-house medical surgical suite. The education wing is complete with an interactive classroom and a resource library. The innovative wellness suite enables positive, life-affirming and therapeutic interactions between people and animals.  The Center features a new retail shop and spacious new caging and living arrangements for nearly 300 animals. The Animal Friends Resource Center is Celebrating its 5th Anniversary.