Hackney studio Gort Scott subtly added the outline of a cat's ears to the facade of this feline veterinary clinic outside Cambridge (+ slideshow).
The architects wanted to create references to cats in the design, but agreed with the client that these details would be subtle. "After years of designing with human situations in mind, it was quite interesting also designing with cats in mind," Jay Gort told Dezeen.
The building occupies a former joinery shed in the village of Fulbourn. Gort Scott covered the original facade with cedar slats and picked out the shape of the cat's ears using wider sections.
"The screen was considered the most elegant and cost effective way of giving the building a more welcoming, joyful appearance in a context of fairly run-down sheds," said Gort.
The building's interior is reorganised, creating a large reception and waiting area at the front of the clinic. The reception desk is built from plywood and features ornate feet shaped like cat's paws.
Beyond the reception are a series of consulting rooms, an operating theatre and a diagnostic laboratory, plus a large preparation room lit from above by skylights.
Interior walls are painted in calming shades of turquoise, with occasional details picked out in yellow.
Gort Scott is led by architects Jay Gort and Fiona Scott, whose past projects include a rugged stone house on the Isle of Man. Jay Gort also spoke at Dezeen's Designed in Hackney Day last year, where he argued that the beleaguered British high street is actually a thriving location of "collision and conflict".
Another veterinary clinic completed recently is a combined surgery and home in Japan.
Photography is by Angus Leadley Brown.
Here's some more information from Gort Scott:
Cambridge Cat Clinic
The site for this new, cat-specialist veterinary practice was originally a joinery workshop, opposite an open field at the edge of Cambridge. Our client was a veterinarian establishing a new business.
Gort Scott obtained planning permission for change of use and remodelling of the existing building to also include a new cedar wood screen on the front elevation, with a suggestion of cats ears. Beyond this screen is a generous reception and waiting area with specially-designed furniture, and views back to the open field.
The main working area for the medical staff is a large multi-functioning ‘prep room’, which is top-lit by two generous skylights.
The scheme’s design includes many aspects that respond to the client’s considered approach to the welfare of her animal patients and their owners.
The building serves both as a general practice specialising in feline medicine, and also as a surgery, with a full operating theatre, lab and diagnostic area.
Above: site plan - click for larger image
Name of project: Cambridge Cat Clinic
Date of completion: 01/ 06/ 2012
Total contract value; £156,000
Client: Cambridge Cat Clinic
Start on site date: 05/11/2011
Gross internal floor area: 224m2
Above: floor plan - click for larger image
Form of contract and/or procurement : JCT Minor Works contract
Structural engineer: Charles Tallack Engineering consultancy
Planning supervisor: AFP Construction consultants
Total cost : £156,000
Main contractor: Bob Black Construction Ltd.
Selected subcontractors and suppliers:
Internal partitions: Rodecca
Joinery: Precision Joinery
Above: front elevation - click for larger image