GFF CAN(e): A Design Competition for a New Animal Shelter

Ultimately, this building will provide a safe and healthy environment for animals on their journey to finding their forever homes.

Before the pandemic took hold, GFF made career offers to six extremely talented graduates around the country. Unable to move to Dallas or begin working in our temporarily closed offices as COVID-19 became a national crisis, we tasked these six designers with a design competition that they could complete from home. The competition, titled GFF CAN(e), would propose a new animal shelter for Cane Rosso Rescue, an organization that is currently looking to build their dream facility that will let them take in more animals.

Each of the six, our 2020 Summer Fellows, proposed unique solutions that made wonderful spaces for animals who have not yet found their ‘forever’ homes. A panel of GFF designers helped along the way, providing critiques and reviews before ultimately picking a winning solution. Cane Rosso Rescue also weighed in during the process and gave our six designers crucial feedback about program, functionality, and aesthetics that all led to creating their new facility.

Once a winner was selected, our six designers teamed up and produced a package of drawings ready for a general contractor to estimate. We are excited for Cane Rosso Rescue as they continue to push to save more animals’ lives. We are also happy to announce that our Summer Fellows are now full-time GFF employees and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Cane Rosso Rescue is a Dallas, TX-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds and building awareness for dogs in need of homes in Texas. The goal of Cane Rosso Rescue is to find homes for dogs that have been abandoned at shelters or whose owners can no longer care for them. They look for fosters, adopters, and volunteers to help transport dogs to their future homes. Donations are accepted via Paypal to to assist with medical care and other expenses that come with saving these dogs.

Competition Winner: Cane Rosso Rescue by André Simon

Indoor Play Area

The goal of this proposal is to provide a comfortable and safe sanctuary for animals in need. The building is organized to accommodate animal, visitors, and staff, especially where their activities overlap. This is meant to create better connections between animals and humans by molding spaces to accommodate them. The form of the building is a response to the triangular shape of the lot. Above the indoor play area, the gable roof splits to allow natural light to flood the area, refreshing the dogs and the air in the space.

The materials used are brick, stucco, and refurbished metal panels and wood. Using refurbished materials improves the building’s sustainability and keeps with the spirit of the animal shelter by giving new life to something forgotten or left behind.

Ultimately, this building provides a safe and healthy environment for animals on their journey to finding their forever homes.

View an animation and a PDF of the winning entry by André Simon

Project Images

Outdoor Play Area
Trailhead & Parking Area

We are so proud of our six new hires and look forward to having them in the office very soon! We owe a big “Thank you!” to Mariah Trevizo who led the design competition every step of the way and Cane Rosso Rescue for allowing us to be part of their amazing program!

Nicole Capps studied architecture at Western Kentucky University and recently graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Master of Architecture. Her main concept of the Cane Rosso Rescue design was to embrace the mock sites’ irregular shape while establishing a hierarchy within the circulation of the space through the public and private areas of the project to allow for the rescue to properly care for the animals so they can find their forever homes.

Noe Flores is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at San Antonio where he attained both his Masters of Architecture and bachelor’s degree. His design for the Cane Rosso project attempts to capture the humble and philanthropic nature of the rescue through a modest building form, where the key factor is the spatial layout which allows workers to effectively care and give the animals a healthy and joyous life as they find their new home.

Yara Hantash is a graduate of Tulane University with a passion for creating spaces that engage and enrich the occupant. Her design proposal for Cane Rosso Rescue did so by creating three distinct volumes for visitors, animals, and staff, respectively. Most importantly, the central and most distinct mass housed the dogs and created an expansive condition that blurred the distinction between indoor and outdoor space and encouraged connections between potential adopters and future pets.

Tiffany Nguyen recently graduated from the University of Kansas with her Master in Architecture. Her first project at GFF was the Cane Rosso Rescue and wanted to bring her knowledge of the importance of circulation into the building design by separating the public, semi-public, and private areas.

André Simon recently graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Masters of Architecture and Certificate in Sustainability and High Performance Buildings.  The main concept of his Cane Rosso design was to break the typical division of Visitor/Employee/Animal spaces seen in today’s veterinarian clinics and shelters and instead acknowledge the interrelationships that can occur between these occupants, with the Meet and Greet being at the heart of the programmatic organization where Visitor/Employee/Animal interact.

Sarah Wheeler studied architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington and The University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she worked on Design/Build architecture and robotic fabrication technologies. Her design for the Cane Rosso Dog Rescue focused on maximizing the efficiency of the volunteer staff and utilizing reclaimed materials at every opportunity without sacrificing the natural light, ventilation, and comfort the dogs require to live healthy, happy lives.