University Veterinary Specialists

STATUS: Completion in 2016

With the projections of having over 350,000 pets in the South Hills of Pittsburgh without a 24-hour emergency hospital, the solution was to design and construct a new facility to address the needs of the neighborhood. When challenged by the client to repurpose an old furniture showroom into a new state-of-the art three suite operating animal hospital, the initial obstacle was to reprogram the equipment vendor’s concept plan to optimize space utilization and improve the efficiency by reducing critical time from arrival, triage, preparation and surgery. 

With the goal of reducing the time of arrival to treatment, a new programming phase was implemented with the Chief Surgeon and staff to provide a direct path from the point of entry to the surgical suites, allowing a direct view of the treatment and recovery areas including the glass enclosed ICU ward.  The programming also included revisions to the exam rooms and other services offered as traditional veterinarian services. The staff’s direction to the design team was to utilize fear-free practices throughout the facility.  Small lower windows were added to the bottoms of the exam doors for visual connectivity for the patients. New clerestory windows at the waiting rooms add natural lgiht for a calming effect. Finishes and colors were selected based on industry standards for their calming effects. 

The animal hospital equipment (including a human hospital-grade MRI machine) created an additional challenge of balancing the budget between the necessary high-end medical equipment and aesthetic renovations. Smart and economical solutions that repurposed as much of the existing 50-year-old structure was paramount. Years of poor cosmetic renovations  were repaired and the shrouded mid-century modern clerestory and its interior saw-tooth roof were recaptured.  
Our vision was to create a clean and modern restructured facade that stands as a distinctive and noticeable landmark in the neighborhood. The choice of a metal panel cladding system was the perfect economical solution– bold colors of rust and blue along with the bright corrugated panels tie the new entry element and glass storefront into the saw-tooth roof. The exterior renovation resulted in an eye-catching facade along a busy corridor– imperative for its success as a 24-hour animal hospital.