One plum wall says it all: Hospital services are separate and distinct from boarding and grooming services—yet both are easily
accessible to pet owners and team members. During a candid conversation with his architect, Dr. David Gordon, medical director
of VCA Arroyo Animal Hospital (formerly Arroyo PetCare Center) in Lake Forest, Calif., mentioned he'd like to distinctly separate
the hospital and medical functions and the boarding and grooming functions. Yet his idea of using a scalpel handle and blade
on the outside of the building to depict that separation didn't quite seem appropriate.
Clerestory windows bathe the reception area in warm California sunshine, while dropped pendant lighting provides task illumination.
For visual appeal, the area features Juparana granite transaction countertops and inset copper and aluminum finishes.
Laughing it off, Dr. Gordon thought that was the end of the conversation. But the imagery Dr. Gordon described sparked a key
design solution for architect Rich Rauh of Rauhaus Architects in Lake Forest.
"Rich took my idea and ran with it, designing a beautiful, unique hospital with two distinct zones divided by a plum wall
that physically and aesthetically defines the building," says Dr. Gordon. "That wall is now a fun design feature that attracts
attention from clients and passersby."
Award-winning floor plan : VCA Arroyo Animal Hospital
The practice also attracted attention from Hospital Design Competition judges. In fact, the well-crafted separation of duties,
superb floor plan, clean design, thoughtfully chosen materials, and strong execution won VCA Arroyo Animal Hospital bragging
rights as the 2005 Hospital of the Year in Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Competition, the 40th practice to achieve this distinction.
Fielding frustrations, thinking creatively
Shortly before breaking ground, Dr. Gordon nearly called the project quits. He'd already endured a frustrating search for
land, zoning issues, public hearings, unexpected fees, and physical constraints from the proximity of the adjacent hotel and
the 15 degree descending slope for cars approaching the hospital. The newest wrinkle came when he was on vacation with his
family and received a call from Rauh and his builder Gene Kraus, announcing even more problems.
inside look : Lessons learned from the 40th Hospital of the Year
The main sewer line outlined on the original plot plan couldn't be found. "We had to hire a special company to bore into the
ground and attempt to find the sewer with an endoscope," says Dr. Gordon. "Talk about Mission Impossible! And $7,500 later,
still no main sewer line." Dr. Gordon then called his architect to commission another plumbing plan. And the city required
him to construct the new main sewer along another road, which added to the cost.