Architectural Firm UDG Presents Rendering of Jackson County’s First Animal Shelter

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The Humane Society of Jackson County is working to gain funding and support for the county’s first animal shelter. The architects at UDG volunteered to design the facility on a pro bono basis.

Urban Design Group (UDG), an award-winning architectural firm, is volunteering their services to design an animal shelter for the Humane Society of Jackson County (HSJC), GA. The facility is the first animal shelter in the county and will serve as a substantial asset to the community.

“When I originally heard about the need for an animal shelter in Jackson County, I discussed the situation with my partners,” said Ken Rhyne, Allied AIA, AICAE, and Principal with UDG. “Our professional culture encourages volunteering and giving back to the community, and we take on select pro bono projects where our expertise can make a significant and positive difference. We are extremely pleased to be a part of this effort.”

UDG has been working with the HSJC since September 2011. The architectural firm formally presented a rendering of the proposed facility at the Fur Ball, a premier fundraising event, held on March 22, 2013.

“The road toward our shelter has been long, and it was so fulfilling and awesome to see it illustrated on paper,” said Roxane Rose, President of the HSJC. “I was just speechless when I first saw the renderings, which made it feel real and that much closer to reality. We are so thankful and humbled to have the pro bono support of UDG. Having a world-renowned firm with the reputation like UDG gives us a huge amount of credibility that will help substantially with our fundraising.”

About UDG’s Proposed Design Solution:

“In working through space programming with the HSJC, we discovered the individual spaces were best grouped by function,” explained Matt Mitchell, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, a Senior Associate with UDG. “Our design solution had to meet a conservative budget, allow for flexibility and accommodate future expansion. The facilities also had to be environmentally sensitive and appropriate in context for the area. As a result, the spaces evolved into discrete individual buildings or Pods.”

The Pod concept calls for smaller buildings, of varied forms, built over time from indigenous materials, sited for maximum efficiency thus promoting minimum site disturbance and allowing for the best views. Individual Pods offer a more pleasing, interesting and picturesque design, which is a great fit for the semi-rural setting. Simple materials, including brick, wood and stone, provide an indigenous richness. The Pods’ simple forms and detailing and the more dramatic entry and reception piece provide a clear sense of hierarchy and composition.

The Pod concept provides a kit of parts that can be built over time. Pods can be repeated as needed for expansion and allow the HSJC to build only what is needed at any given time. Walkways connecting the pods can be customized to the budget and can evolve over time as additional funds become available. The walkways can be gravel surfaced or paved, and can be covered and ultimately enclosed and conditioned. The garden and patio spaces are excellent donor opportunities, providing endless possibilities for designs of all budgets.

“By synthesizing the program, budget, site, context, aesthetics and schedule, UDG created a design for the HSJC that is truly holistic,” said Mitchell. “From initial design and construction through the entire life cycle of the facility, we have created a solution that will meet the needs of its owners, employees, customers, guests and or course, of the animals. We are honored to share our talents to help such a great cause.”

About the Humane Society of Jackson County:

Established in 1998, the Humane Society of Jackson County was the vision of native Marjorie Butler, who worked with Bob and Sandy Wells to make her dream a reality. A low- and no-cost spay neuter program for low-income families was started in 2006, and in February of 2007, the group received its Department of Agriculture License and began rescuing and placing homeless animals. In 2008, volunteers launched a courtesy placement program to assist with animals requiring re-homing that the group could not accommodate, since it currently operates through an all-foster home network. In 2011, the organization launched its capital campaign to raise funds for the shelter and opened the ReTail Thrift Store, located in downtown Jefferson behind the Crawford W. Long Museum. HSJC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and donations are tax deductible. For more information, please call 706-367-1111 or visit the web site at

About Urban Design Group:

Founded in 1975, UDG offers architectural, interior design, master planning, product design, and purchasing and logistics services to its worldwide clientele from offices in Atlanta, GA, and Dallas, TX. A market leader in the application and advancement of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), UDG's personnel work on a wide range of projects from hospitality, resort, and gaming projects to corporate office, university facilities, and urban mixed-use developments.

In the firm's 38-year history, UDG has completed more than $6 Billion in projects worldwide. The firm has received more than 80 design excellence awards and honors and 15 design competition awards, and has been featured in hundreds of magazine articles, newspaper pieces and design resource books. For more information, please visit

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Jana Rubin, CPSM
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