Operated by the non-profit animal organization House of Joy and Mercy, the Animal Shelter is a foster home for stray dogs and other abandoned animals. According to animal rights organizations, at least 4000 animals have been displaced as a result of the government’s North East New Territories New Development Planning. This project transformed the abandoned brownfield into an animal shelter for abandoned dogs and other animals before they get a new home.
We envisioned the shelter as a big canopy under which different lives have their own space while being able to engage with each other in oneness. Surrounding a tree, the pavilion hosts a number of programs, including six rooms for 50 dogs, a care room for sick dogs, a lounge, and an office.
Each dog room has two entrances, one leading to the courtyard and the other to the backyard. The courtyard caters for public engagements while the backyard allows for private one-to-one outdoor training.
Our planning leaves a central axis between the dog rooms and the courtyard to facilitate circulation. The loading zone is put under the roof to shelter loading activities during rainy seasons. Plants are grown to create a natural site boundary, with plenty of outdoor space for dogs to run around.
In the hope of preventing future abandonment, more interactions between the animals and potential adopters are encouraged before adoption. The courtyard space can be used as a meet-up space between potential adopters and the animals, as well as an event space for educational programs to raise animal awareness.
It is common for dogs to feel insecure when they are relocated to unfamiliar places. They may also bark at each other as village dogs are not used to being contained. To reduce noise nuisance for neighboring residents, we used double glazed windows to keep the noise indoors. In doing so, we hope to resettle the dogs responsibly without disturbing the local residents.
A shelter is more than a place to stay, it is where one feels safe and comfortable. Glass blocks are used as partitions to enhance natural light inside the dog rooms. The architecture caters to both human and dog’s visions by designing visual panels with varying heights. Dogs and humans see color differently. We painted the doors and interior walls yellow as it is the color shared by both dogs and humans.
To avoid contaminating and overburdening the city’s sewage system, we built a septic tank to store the shelter’s sewage. All organic waste will be collected weekly. We reduced the use of hard paving materials to reduce the storm water runoff. Instead, the water will be soaked by soil. We also used low VOC paint to reduce the harm to the environment and to those with respiratory problems.
Singapore Good Design Awards
Taiwan Golden Pin Design Award
Architect-lead consultancy (building + interior design, Authorized Person, structural engineering, MEP engineering, quantity surveying)
Kam Tin, Hong Kong
House of Joy and Mercy, Development Bureau of HKSARG
BeFrank, Far East
Chun Hang Yip, Arthur Sze, Humphrey Keung, Justin Yeung, Cynthia Kuo, Rachel Lee, Catherine Cheng, Raphael Kwok, Finn Chan, Otto Ng, Ricky Yu