Blacktown Animal Rehoming Centre

Darug Country / Blacktown, NSW

An animal shelter benchmarks a safe and welcoming place. Read more about how our design attracts potential pet adopters.

Blacktown Animal Rehoming Centre

Darug Country / Blacktown, NSW

State of the art facilities challenge the public perception of shelters with a building design that aims to improve animal recovery and increase community acceptance and adoption of impounded animals.

The design for the animal shelter balances the highly technical requirements of welfare with the need for a safe and welcoming building for staff and visitors.

Rather than one solid mass, the facility sees six ‘fingers’ reaching out to engage with the landscape. This layout maximises thermal, visual and audio comfort, minimising distress and assisting with rehabilitation, whilst providing amenity for staff. Views of the surrounding landscape are drawn into the kennel areas and increase interaction with nature. Animal facilities are carefully designed to minimise attention fatigue and improve bacteria prevention, provide stimulation and support staff safety.

The light-filled main building reception has a large cantilevered roof sweeping up to the sky, providing an iconic, welcoming, way-finding entrance. A civic space, it provides a secure and transparent environment, with clear circulation, ‘homely’ viewing rooms for potential pets and a function area for educational events.

A 100m long, abstract artwork of multicoloured vertical blades, the ‘Bird Screen’, links the six buildings with a colour scheme by Lymesmith referencing local native birds flittering through the bush. In addition, each of the six buildings is delineated by the colours of a unique ‘native bird ambassador’.

The facility sits lightly in an extensive landscaped area, with drought tolerant, shade-giving and low maintenance planting. The landscape acts as bio filtration at multiple points, promoting stormwater intake across the site.

Hygienic, durable, robust, easy to maintain and clean materials were chosen. Sustainable principles include passive thermal comfort, solar access, water retention.

The largest building of its type in the Southern Hemisphere, BARC houses up to 380 spaces for dogs and cats. Underpinned by research, the design is benchmarked against world’s best practice in animal welfare.


Responding to the ecology of the Cumberland Woodland, the Owen St facade screen welcomes visitors with flashes of eyecatching colour along its 100m length. The Shelter’s architecture and landscape design seeks to connect it with the land of the Wawarawarry People, Eastern Creek and the Nurragingy Reserve by drawing visitors into the Shelter and beyond. Consultation was undertaken with local bird experts to identify the appropriate species which include the Mistletoebird, Blue Faced Honeyeater, Sacred Kingfisher, Eastern Yellow Robin, Regents Honeyeater, and the Red Browed Firetail. Each bird and their palette of plumage colours are also used to inform the colour palette and wayfinding for each of the 6 buildings beyond the screen.


2024 ArchitectureAU Award for Social Impact – shortlist
2024 IPWEA Engineering Excellence Awards – Blacktown City Council – Winner, Minister’s Award
2024 Dulux Colour Awards – Finalist – Commercial and Multi Residential Exterior – Lymesmith in association with Sam Crawford Architects
2023 Master Builders Association – AW Edwards – Winner, Construction (Commercial) Public Buildings $10-$50m


Architecture & Culture Magazine Apr 2024
Elle Decor Japan no. 184
ArchDaily July 2023
ArchitectureAU June 2023
Indesign Live June 2023
Sydney Morning Herald 20 June 2023
ArchitectureAU September, 2017

Project Team

Sam Crawford, Gabrielle Pelletier, Scott Rowland, Benjamin Chan, Ken Warr, Louisa Gee, Henry Foley, Sofia Nay, Allen Huang, Imogene Tudor, Anna Paton, Shane Marshall, Charly Watson.


AW Edwards

Consultant Team

Project Manager – Root Partnerships
Landscape Architect – JMD Design
Aboriginal Heritage – AMBS
Arborist – Arterra
BCA Consultant – BMG
QS – Bylett & Associates
Flood – Catchment Simulation Solutions
Geotech Engineer – Douglas Partners
Services Engineers – DSC
Artist – Lymesmith
Accessibility Consultant – Morris Goding
Waste Consultant – MRA Consulting
Structural Engineer – Northrop Consulting
Civil Engineer – Northrop Consulting
Fire Engineer – Olsson Fire & Risk
Contamination Consultant – Prensa
Acoustic Engineer – Rodney Stevens
Signage & Wayfinding – Urbanite
Traffic Engineer – TTPP
Section J Consultant – Aspire Sustainability
Third party approvals – Stowe Australia


Brett Boardman


Blacktown City Council