Blacktown Animal Rehoming Centre (BARC)

This project introduces the first custom-built rehoming centre in Australia, which replaces an old animal holding facility owned by the Blacktown Council. It's the largest centre of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and can accommodate 380 dogs and cats. The main project goal was to make the process of finding homes for animals more efficient by improving assessment methods, increasing outdoor time for animals in holding, and educating the community about animal care.

The design of the centre aims to change the way people think about animal shelters. The public reception building is bright, open, and spacious, with a unique roof, which all posed some exciting challenges for our structural engineers.

The roof is one large monoslope that falls along the length of the building, with a 1.8m wide box gutter at the low end for rainwater capture. Due to the predominantly glazed façade and open interior, there were limited areas available for wall bracing, so we utilised a hybrid system of lateral bracing and portal frames to stabilise the structure. The glazed façade is divided through the middle with decorative and insulated precast panels that are supported by the exposed internal columns, in which we worked closely with the architect to develop nice-looking but robust connection details.

The site is flood impacted from the adjacent Eastern Creek so the building pads were filled to be above the flood planning level. Existing contaminated fill on-site proved challenging for the earthworks design, resulting in a series of ‘borrow pits’ to ‘cap and contain’ the material on-site.  A series of bioretention basins were provided to treat runoff across the site, integrated with the landscape design. In addition to this, aboveground rainwater tanks, pit inserts and landscape swales were provided as part of the holistic treatment system.    

The centre’s focus is on the well-being of each animal, providing them with the best chance to recover and find new homes within the community. By combining thoughtful design, modern facilities, and compassionate care, the centre aims to set a new standard for rehoming practices, encouraging people to adopt animals and promoting kindness towards them in the community.

To hear more about this project contact Lauren Gaudion - Structural Engineer on (02) 9241 4188 or; or contact Kane Sinclair - Associate | Civil Engineer on (02) 4943 1777 or 

ARCHITECTS: Sam Crawford Architects - @samcrawfordarchitects; PHOTOGRAPHY: Brett Boardman Photography @brettboardmanphotography

Client Name
RP Infrastructure/ Blacktown City Council
Construction Value
$36 million

Winner - Commercial (Public Buildings), $10M - $50M - MBA NSW Awards 2023 (Builder: AW Edwards) 

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