Architecture Students Prep Animal Shelter Concepts

Design studio produces renderings for fund drive

The city of St. Joseph, Mo., needs a new animal shelter. Before launching a fund drive to pay for it, officials decided they needed a visual concept of what a new shelter could look like in order to drive interest and, eventually, donations.

They turned to the Architecture, Urban Planning + Design Department at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, an academic unit noted for student projects that address real-world urban environment needs. Could they provide a rendering of a possible new shelter?

“We decided to take it one step further and make it a design studio project,” said John Eck, RA, Associate Teaching Professor of Architecture. “So we have 11 students, each doing an individual design for a shelter.”

In December of 2014, the volunteer organization Friends of the Animal Shelter of St. Joseph got approval from the St. Joseph City Council to begin fundraising to build a new shelter for the city. Working with the UMKC design students represents one of the first public steps forward on the journey.

“Though the students’ designs will not be directly translated into architectural plans for a new building, walking through this process with them has been an invaluable learning experience for our group,” said Dr. Annie Valuska, Friends of the Shelter board member. “The questions raised by the students and Professor Eck have generated so many great conversations and ideas that will be incredibly useful as we begin thinking more concretely about how we want to shape the future of the shelter. We can’t wait to see what the students have come up with.”

The 11 students in the class got inspiration for their work by visiting the current St. Joseph Animal Shelter and a potential site for the new shelter. The class also met with shelter staff and volunteers to discuss what would be required in a new building to meet the unique challenges of an animal facility.

The students’ work will be on display beginning at 2 p.m. on April 9th in Room 101 of Katz Hall, 5005 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, Mo. The showing is free and open to the public.

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