gb&d Article: Best In Show

Arcturis wins a “green” ribbon for transforming a popular pet event center—a three-million-square-foot site made over with intensive landscape solutions

this article originally appeared in gb&d Magazine July/August 2011 issue.

In December 2010, hundreds of dogs had their pictures taken with Santa at the Purina Event Center’s “Pet-acular Holiday Bazaar.” Handmade dog toys and apparel were bought by the dozens in anticipation of the pint-sized puppy stockings that would soon hang over fireplaces. There were canine games and rescue pets looking their sweetest, hoping to be adopted in time for Christmas. And though Santa only visits once a year, the Purina Event Center is worth seeing any time of the year.

Arcturis, a St. Louis-based planning, architecture, and interiors firm, played a leading role in making the events space a reality. In 2006, Nestle’ Purina PetCare approached the firm about creating an event center that would cater to dogs, cats, breeder-enthusiasts, and the animal lover in all of us. “Purina began hosting outdoor dog shows and sporting events at Purina Farms in 1994,” says Candy Caciolo, a portfolio director with Nestlé Purina, who adds that though the 350-acre property was popular with parent clubs and all-breed kennel clubs, there was a need for an indoor facility that could be used year-round. “Purina envisioned a significant, state-of-the-art event center with ‘Best in Class’ amenities that would epitomize our passion for dogs and cats and our steadfast commitment to the fancy.” Arcturis accepted the challenge and signed on not only as the architects of the facility but also as the designers of the project’s interiors, landscape, signage, and environmental graphics.

In the last two years, Arcturis has collaborated on more than 12 LEED buildings. Its designs often help clients achieve an 18-percent energy reduction—at a minimum—and an average reduction in water usage of 40 percent. For the Purina Event Center, project manager Chrissy Hill led the design team, which knew right away that it would go after LEED certification. The architects put to use all the green techniques they’d been perfecting since the formation of the firm’s Green Team four years prior.

“Maximizing efficiency in terms of function and energy use were critical points of discussion during the design process,” Hill says. “The design and construction teams collaborated to determine the best building envelope, material selections, lighting, and HVAC systems for the building. The HVAC systems and electric systems are designed to provide the optimal comfort and ease of use for the end user, while remaining as efficient as possible. The design team utilized evaporative-cooled rooftop unit and water-cooled, self-contained units, which use water’: heat-transfer properties to provide cooling much more efficiently than standard, air-cooled HVAC equipment. High-volume, low-velocity fans were also utilized to provide a constant breeze to the occupants.

Other green features include low-flow toilets and urinals, reflective rooftop and paving surfaces, and a state-of-the-art irrigation system. “The existing site has four waste-water lagoons,” Hill explains. “This development will treat 100 percent of the wastewater generated on site via a system of stabilization lagoons and a land-application system. These natural lagoons will filter wastes naturally, and this water will be used to irrigate nearby fields. In addition, over 75 percent of the nearly 3 million-square-foot site was restored using native plantings, and much of the existing natural area was conserved and protected during construction.”

The Purina Event Center was built primarily as a location to host dog shows. The shows can range anywhere from 50-1500 dogs, so Arcturis was sure to include amenities like a dog-bathing room, a grooming hall, a water fill station, an information office, and a hospitality room for judges and VIPs. Arcturis also included a banquet facility on the second floor, which can be used for various award ceremonies, receptions, large meetings, and seminars.

The project is currently tracking LEED Gold, which came as no surprise to any of the architecture firm’s 20+ LEED APs. The firm places a great emphasis on creating eco-friendly structures and sustainable designs—it’s continually been recognized as one of the area’s leading green businesses by the likes of the St. Louis Business Journal! and Commerce Magazine and works out of a LEED Silver office in a rehabbed building downtown. “Clients seek us out due to our reputation for green design,” says principal Megan Nasrallah. “We take pride in that we practice what we preach.” —gb&d

A Message from LANDCO Construction

LANDCO is proud to have collaborated with Nestlé Purina PetCare Company and Arcturis, Inc. in “building their vision” of a sustainable, state-of-the-art facility, designed specifically for dog shows. The new Purina Event Center is currently under consideration for LEED Gold certification.

Key involvement in the planning process, documentation of critical information, attention to detail, and quality craftsmanship were delivered to accomplish this goal.

We look forward to future projects combining our firm’s respective expertise in sustainable design and construction practices.

The main corridor at the Purina Event Center.

The 45,000-square-foot Main Exhibition Hall during an All Breed Show.

The center's popular Checkerboard Cafe.

The Purina Event Center's main entry at dusk.