Niche Markets in Architecture? This one is for the Dogs.

Over the past 20 years I've seen and worked with a variety of architectural firms, each specializing in the usual niche markets from medical to retail, faith based to higher education, not to mention the ubiquitous residential projects. The list seems stagnant and well established especially to people like me that have been in the industry for a while.

That changed recently when I was contacted by Principal Architect, Paul Gladysz of BDA Architecture.  Paul and Project Manager, Becky Valentine, approached me about creating a series of digital renderings to help promote and generate funds for a new project, The Puppy Academy. More about that in a moment.

View of the main entry to The Puppy Academy 

BDA Architecture was established in the mid-80s when architect founder, Wayne Usiak, discovered a niche opportunity for architectural design in animal care facilities. Since that time BDA Architecture has been a consistent voice at conferences and other venues where they share their design knowledge about animal care design, and in many ways they've set the bar for industry trends and even authored many best design practices. As design experts in the field of animal care facilities, they are involved with equine, specialty care, general veterinary practice, animal shelters, boarding, daycare and even specialty training facilities across 46 states and 11 countries. And they are very busy.

New pups get to play, bathe and get accustomed to new sounds, scents and textures in this mini-waterpark concept. 

The facility and surrounding support buildings are part of a much larger organization. Tours and activities are geared toward all age groups and volunteer opportunities and also available. 

Back to the project. The Puppy Academy falls under the specialty training category where BDA's client, Southeastern Guide Dogs, has been growing a 30+ acre campus dedicated to breeding and training guide dogs for visually impaired people.  According to their website "we employ the latest in canine development and behavior research to create and nurture partnerships between visually impaired individuals and extraordinary guide dogs." What's even more interesting about their mission is they provide all of their services free of charge and without government funding.