The Dane County Humane Society – The Design of the Millennium
By Luisa Nunez
The Wisconsin Chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) has donated their services to the new Dane County Humane Society and given it a much-needed face-lift. The new construction celebrated its grand opening in July 2000.
The new facility elicits a more relaxed and content atmosphere than the previous structure. The Wisconsin IIDA completely refurbished the Humane Society, stripping it of its previously cramped quarters and unpleasant veneer which regularly exceeded its capacity, and transformed it into a brand new 33,000 square foot facility which accommodates an animal treatment wing with private cages and kennels for ailing animals, a center for the Society’s educational programs, a retail area which will generate revenue for the facility, as well as state of the art playrooms and kennels for its temporary guests.
With this projects inception, came a great deal of hard work and dedication on the part of the IIDA designers. Their goal was to construct a facility that was both practical and professional while still maintaining its function as a temporary home for the countless numbers of homeless animals that cross its threshold daily.
The interior and structural design teams spent a substantial amount of time on this expansion, researching and assessing the practicality and functionality that is required for ans facility such as this. The designers incorporated various contrasts into their scheme, integrating unusual textures and vivid colors with the more conservative features such as metallic and hardwood finishes which are mandatory considering the heavy use and frequent cleaning required by a facility which houses animals. Some other innovative concepts that made their way into the permanent plan of the Dane County Humane Society include assorted floor designs and banners that are carried throughout the facility. As you move through the corridors, you notice the angular motifs in the floor design, which commemorate patrons and their pets with each tile bearing an engraved message in it. The banners contribute vivacity and renewed spirit to the corridors, reducing the conservative, gloomy and depressing impression of the former construction.
Sunset gold, terra cotta and purple berry are the predominant colors that are carried throughout the facility. The purple berry was specifically chosen as a marketing technique. The Kennel Manager felt that the color contrast against the animals fur would bring out their best characteristics.
Light is another significant addition made to the Dane County Humane Society. With high vaulted ceilings and large skylights scattered throughout, the natural sunlight that permeates, offers a sense of a positive and healthy environment.
A feature unique to the cat playroom is a window for guests, which gives them an inside look into the life of these pampered felines. Visitors can view the cats in action as they scurry around their jungle gym hoping to show off their spunk to prospective moms and dads.