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RSPCA Portland Regional Shelter
by NHArchitecture



The RSPCA Regional Shelter at Portland provides pet welfare services to the region. It includes pound facilities for cats and dogs, animal sales, general retail and clinical, counselling and staff areas. It also plays an important role in the local community by providing education programmes and information about RSPCA welfare campaigns. The RSPCA Portland Animal Shelter is comprised of a 290m2 prefabricated and relocatable main building, four prefabricated outdoor dog kennel shelters and exercise areas for dogs. The RSPCA does not generally own the land upon which its regional shelters are sited. The nature of pound contracts with local shires is such that council land is provided for RSPCA use for the duration of the pound contract only. As such, owning a building that can be relocated allows the RSPCA to retain its capital investment. The RSPCA Portland Shelter is the first of a number of regional shelters proposed. Shelters for Whittlesea and Bendigo are currently in construction. The building design, as executed at Portland, allows for the shelter to be expanded and contracted; in order to provide additional animal welfare services or to remove facilities not required in some regional areas. The buildings are made up of parallelogram modules – 2 per wing - which allow a number of building configurations. Each of the wings is two-sided; with a public façade and a services facade. The public frontage of the building is built to the maximum transportable height of 3.9 metres high by 3.5 metres wide. The Regional Shelters will be

located some distance from Melbourne. The location of the prefabrication factory near RSPCA Melbourne headquarters streamlined management of the project, allowed tight controls over building quality and consistency of image in its regional provisions. It not only meets the cat and dog adoption service needs of Portland but also shows how an alternative approach to construction can be beneficial to the bottom line of the project, meet new environmental objectives and be reusable into the future. In this instance the adoption of a universal solution is an appropriate response to RSPCAs service provisions across a number of regional areas. The RSPCA provides its full range of services at its regional shelters. As such, a variety of dedicated, yet small, spaces are required. In order to limit internal corridor space, public functions (retail, reception, display, adoption) are clustered onto one side of the building and are accessible from the main entry, while back-of-house service and clinical spaces have been placed on the opposite side of the building and are accessible from a service verandah running the length of the building. The core objective of the RSPCA is the welfare of animals within its care and in the community. However, increasingly donors understand that innovative architecture, display and retail spaces attract visitors and good displays and happy animals encourage them to stay, be educated and adopt animals. Bold painted graphics create a fun and joyous environment and mark a continuation of the RSPCAs image and branding.

Portland, VIC
Contact address:
Project Team
Project architect: Barbara Bamford
Project manager: Burns Bridge
Civil consultant: Brian Consulting
Landscape consultant: Site Office
Builder: Precom , Prefab Buildings
Builder: Porthaul , Site works
-: Thuyai Chung
Building surveyor: PLP

Photographs by NHArchitecture, text by NHArchitecture

Link directly to this award entry: is the website of The Royal Australian Institute of Architects