New Orleans: A city of fun and intrigue, it's known for Mardi Gras parties and parades, King Cakes, the French Quarter, and
great Cajun food. The Big Easy is also home to Metairie Small Animal Hospital, which offers up heaping servings of top-notch
pet care in a 17,504-square-foot practice designed to fit its surroundings. With a wrought-iron second-story grillwork railing
and planters reminiscent of French Quarter designs, the practice, in the heart of New Orleans, harmonizes with its surroundings
and serves up friendly, high-tech care. This admirable mix earned Metairie Small Animal Hospital top honors as Hospital of
the Year in the 2004
Hospital Design Competition.
Meshing eclectic desires
With five practice owners—Drs. John Martin, Brian Melius, Christopher Fabacher, Abraham Richmond, and Siegfried Mayer—as well
as five associates and 44 staff members, finding a consensus on practice design would seem downright impossible. But somehow,
this group made it work.
"We obviously couldn't have all five owners involved in every step of the process," says Dr. Mayer, who joined the partnership
in 1992. "At first we started to divide aspects of the process between all of us, but we realized that wasn't practical."
Announcing the winners: We applaud these Merit Award Winners
Instead, the owners chose Dr. Martin, who joined as a partner in 1969, to be the point person. Together the doctors wrote
up a wish list that included more boarding, a bigger treatment and recovery area, a special procedures room with ultrasound
and endoscopy, a staff lounge, and a retail area. "We looked at our old hospital to decide what to keep and what to change,"
says Dr. Mayer. "We also enlisted help from other architects and doctors, asking them how to do things, what they liked about
their facilities, and so on."
By the time they hired architect Warren Freedenfeld, AIA, the owners had a plan for their hospital. "I sent Warren a book
on local architecture, then showed him around the city so he could get a feel for what we were looking for," Dr. Martin says.
Award-winning floor plan: Metairie Small Animal Hospital