Architecture SPCA: Designing for a Good Cause

Like me, maybe you have been driving West on I-30 from Dallas towards Fort Worth wondering about the bright blue tower and construction site at the Hampton Road exit. Here’s the scoop: This beauty is the new Dallas SPCA Animal Care and Adoption Center which houses the most adorable animals – dogs and cats of all ages, a bunny rabbit and several guinea pigs – in a spatial concept new and revolutionary to the world of public animal shelters.

Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center: SCPA Exterior | Dallas, Texas | Architects: Hinojosa Architects & Interiors Designs (photo: Hinojosa Architects)

Gus Hinojosa, AIA, Managing Principal, and his team at Hinojosa Architects and Interiors (HAI) incorporated design ideas and research from the veterinarian and retail industries to improve the adoption experience and foster healthier animals. Functional and aesthetic details shaped all areas for the rescued animals, wellness and spay/neuter services, medical wing and surgery suite.

The SPCA is another example of why I believe good (meaning excellent) design and architecture make a positive difference in our lives, and sometimes our pets. Dallas’ newest SPCA shows off the animals. The sunny, colorful place welcomes you to stay and play. In this space, I sense the animals are honored guests; and maybe, if I could read their minds, they would agree. HAI’s vision from the start was to “re-define the standard animal shelter from a depressing experience into one which is enjoyable and enlightening.”

Aren’t I cute puppy? I like my candy-colored dog bed.

At last night’s reception, I experienced this concept with other admirers, and will be back to scout out the cats in their cool condos. I’m in the market for the right furball fit. When you visit, admire the modern design of the scratching posts, notice the signage graphics and sit on a banquette covered with fabrics by William Wegman, the artist best known for his Weimaraner photographs.

Even in the world of non-profits, good causes and architectural design, there’s always a bottom-line consideration. Happily, the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center response to-date is working as seen on January 2nd, the first day of operation, when 24 animals were adopted and yesterday when 35+ animals found new homes.

Inspiration in Simple Pastimes: The Yo-Yo

Yo-Yo's Proven Axel Path | acrylic and graphite on canvas | 46” x 45”

Wondering how the yo-yo works using simple string wrapped around two circles and about its many paths (“thrown down” or “walk the dog,” anyone?) inspired this new painting, “Yo-Yo’s Proven Axel Path.”

What would be my experience if I could pull the two discs apart from the center axel and watch them spin, as if still on the string?

The result is a composition about circles in space, string gone wild and layering textures, paint and color. It made its debut in my one-person show last weekend – attracting designer and architects’ attention.

First Day of Autumn

Dallas Contemporary Architecture overlooking White Rock Lake

Today is August 25th, the start of Autumn 2011 and my second blog entry. Here’s an idea. Each first day of a season, I’ll write about how this time of year affects my artist’s sensibilities – sight, sound, smell,taste, touch or could be the 6th sense.

My (almost) daily walks around White Rock Lake – a gem tucked into nature-bursting neighborhoods not far from Dallas’s Central Business District and down the street from where I have my home and studio – are a time to slow down and find quietness. Mine is not a sweaty workout. Rather, it is a time to soak in anything that spontaneously catches my interest.

Texas Sage: Evergreen, full sun, and drought tolerant which was a good thing this summer

A cluster of Texas Sage shrubs has greeted me on my lake walks throughout this year’s 100+ F summer. In the past weeks, I’ve noticed that the sunlight has a new angle and casts different shapes and length of shadows from the sage and the contemporary home. Nature’s colors are now showcasing softer purples and greens – subdued violets and sage greens.  With autumn officially here, the shrub has sprouted its purple heads, nodding towards the lake, readying itself for winter, and making me ready for another upcoming change and season.