Founded in 1892, Birmingham Dogs Home has undergone significant redevelopment to ensure it provides world-class facilities for the Midlands’ dogs-in-need following a fire, which destroyed the original building in 2014. With facilities at capacity, a new centre has been constructed that will comprise of 130 large kennels.
Following a thorough inspection of 65 potential sites, the trustees of the home settled upon a 12.45-acre site on Catherine de Barnes Lane in Solihull. It is here that the kennel’s new home has been built. The location sits within green belt land and as a result had to meet a string of environmental considerations and criteria.
The key consideration for the new building was to create an environment that reduced the stress placed upon the dogs to as little as possible, but the developers also wanted to promote sustainable technology and materials in its design. To help achieve this objective, Jennifer Roberts CMLI, Senior Landscape Architect from One Creative Environments, specified Rosa Waterstuck dutch pavers for the 600m2 area.
The specification of clay pavers, by virtue of the inherent benefits found in clay products, helped to increase the project’s green credentials as the material, unlike concrete alternatives, can easily provide longevity of up to 200 years and more, after which time the pavers can be reclaimed. In addition to the already substantial benefits of clay, the material is durable - which is perfect for the expected high footfall at the dogs’ home – it is resilient and robust in the face of climatic change.
Beyond the advantages of clay, the pavers were specified for their red patina, which helped maintain a sense of harmony between the landscaped area and the surrounding red brick vernacular. The selection of the 200 x 48 x 85 pavers offered unique possibilities due to their bicolour nature. These tones create interest and a welcoming environment as the myriad hues suggest quality and careful specification.
The wider project has created a fascinating example of the creation of an environment that will not only help to provide a pleasant home for the dogs, but a space where the education of responsible dog ownership can be promoted. To achieve this, the design team has made the area as green as possible – a reminder that dogs are happiest when outdoors. The wall, for example, retains subtle earth mounding to the front face, which allows for the ground to rise up from the surrounding meadows to afford the area partial concealment. Once visible, the area in front of the entrance adds further architectural interest by creating a colour contrast - the juxtaposition between the turfed areas and the red pavers.
Alongside Wienerberger’s landscape team, the design team was also able to work with ACO Water Management, a world leader in the design, development and implementation of sustainable surface water management systems. The combined landscape design took advantage of ACO’s MultiDrain™ system, which not only assists in the efficient drainage of water, but also adds to the sustainable credentials stated in the design. The system employs recycled materials and ensures that surface water drains efficiently and effectively.
What’s more, the pavers were installed via flexible construction. Flexible construction refers to a method that includes a level of tolerance for small amounts of movement within the paved area. This traditional form of installation results from the pavers being laid on a bed of sand and also jointed with it.
The completed project clearly meets the objectives set within its brief. The delicate balance between design and sustainability has been maintained with the dogs’ home, providing a pleasant setting for canine rehabilitation and educational space, whilst ensuring the project’s impact upon the environment is kept to an absolute minimum.
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