Building Design for Animals

A Look Back: Allandale Veterinary Hospital

Shining a spotlight on one of our projects, we look at Allandale Veterinary Hospital, an award-winning facility that’s certainly one of a kind.

Allandale Veterinary Hospital is located in the City of Barrie, which is located about 30 miles north of Toronto. The 2013 Veterinary Economics Hospital of the Year Award winner, this general practice is an extended service practice that offers both wellness care and advanced treatments, including full surgical, imaging, ultrasound, endoscopy, dental, hydrotherapy and boarding services, as well as a nutrition center.

The Site

Allandale was an existing practice that needed more room. In finding a place to relocate to, a site was chosen withing the catchment area of the original practice location. This new building was built on a 2-acre site located in a nearby commercial office/business park, as opposed to a suburban street frontage.

BDA designed the site plan for the new building and with future expansion in mind. There is a convenient dog walk/pet relief yard adjacent to the parking off the front building entry and separate client and staff parking for the convenience of both.

Landscaping islands in the parking area as well as along entry walks provide color and enhance the building’s natural materials and architecture. Waiting benches are provided outside for client convenience and relaxation. In the rear of the building, fenced exercise yards make staff jobs easier with convenient access to both the clinical housing and boarding areas.

The Plan

The plan revolves around 3 primary elements; the public areas, the clinical areas and the support areas.

Public Areas The public element includes the living room quality waiting area featuring both fixed benches and moveable upholstered seating. A fireplace, hospitality bar and aquarium all add to the room ambiance. Guests are greeted directly upon entry at the greeter station with a glass enclosed feline boarding area as a backdrop. A conference/training room is immediately adjacent to serve community service, staff training and hydrotherapy exercise support.

The L-shaped 6 exam rooms feature both double and single door style layouts. When exiting exams clients face the immediately accessible and private check out area, far removed from waiting clients. A nearby retail display allows clients easy access when paying. Finally, a convenient pharmacy dispensing window faces the check out area. For boarding clients, a nearby exit door allows them to pick up their dog after paying, and exit directly to their car without going back through the main lobby.

Clinical Areas Clinical services revolve around the centrally located large open treatment room. The five workstations include 3 wet tubs and 2 dry stations. One station is specifically for dentals and is located out of the traffic flows. Separate glassed in K-9 and feline ICU areas flank either end of the treatment room. Immediately accessible and surrounding the central treatment/ICU area are surgery, radiology, lab, pack prep, pharmacy, imaging, special procedures, and isolation area. Numerous workstations are conveniently located for staff throughout this area.

Support Areas The final plan components, located in an immediately adjacent wing, are the housing/facility support facilities. Two separate hallways access these areas in a racetrack layout. Canine and feline wards are immediately adjacent to inpatient treatment rooms. Staff lounge and offices are located on an outer wall, convenient to treatment, but not adjacent to any animal housing rooms for acoustic separation. Food prep, laundry, and utility support are centered between the areas for shared access. Finally, boarding is located at the rear, providing several levels of boarding accommodations from economy to luxury.


This plan exemplifies the incorporation of all the latest evidence-based design features for pet wellness, staff comfort and a healing environment, balancing it with multiple new profit centers and hospitality features. The hotel quality waiting room, themed luxury rooms, and state of the art treatment/ICU area set this facility in a class by itself.

Traffic Flow Circulation in this facility is simple yet controlled. Its simplicity allows clients to self-direct themselves without much staff assistance. Staff circulation in clinical and boarding areas is efficient, without dead ends. Several rooms have doors at both ends to allow staff to use them as additional halls and to share facilities. Several hallways are “working corridors” where applicable, and no hallway serves rooms on just one side. While there are compromises necessary in every design, this plan made no compromises on functionality or efficiency and it includes all the features the doctor felt her practice and clients deserved.

All pet care needs, from wellness care to advanced treatment and life support were accommodated. Clients need go nowhere else whether their needs be medical, nutrition, education, or boarding. This facility further cements the strong lifelong relationship Allandale Veterinary Hospital establishes and reinforces with its client family.