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Hospital for large and small animals opens in Christchurch

South Island’s first ever veterinary hospital for large and small animals opens in Christchurch


It’s not every day architects have monkeys, rhinoceroses, giraffes and reptiles as their end users, but all creatures great and small was the order of the day for Context Architects in designing the South Island’s first ever veterinary hospital for large and small animals - the Rangiora Vet Centre, which celebrates its official opening this weekend, March 23rd 2014.

The new 1,000sqm state-of-the-art facility located on the corner of Oxford and Lehmans Road in Rangiora, Christchurch, replaces the 50 year old practice’s previous clinic. Unique in catering to large and small animals, as well as more exotic patients from the nearby Orana Wildlife Park, the practice also provides specialised equine medicine and full dairy farming services. The building has been designed by Context Architects and features some of the most sophisticated animal medicine facilities available including an in-house laboratory, pharmacy, digital x-ray suite, six consultation rooms, three surgery rooms, sterile areas and an isolation facility.

Twice the size of its previous facility, Context Architects worked with the clinic’s directors to constructively challenge the original brief. ‘Context approached our brief strategically – looking at our business drivers and then developing a more ambitious concept that enabled our practice to double in size and fulfil our objective of providing the highest quality veterinary care,” explained one of the clinic directors Ben Davidson.

Recreating a cluster of farm buildings typical of NZ farms, Context has created a building sympathetic to its rural surrounds. Two linear pitched roof barns run parallel to each other and the main strategic road leading into Rangiora. Using rural materials in another nod to its surrounds, the longer elements of the barns are clad in profiled metal, wrapped from the walls over the roof in contrast to the hi-tech treatment areas within. Timber details and weatherboard gables provide texture and colour.


Well-connected internal spaces maximise functionality. And at the heart of the building a central courtyard creates natural light and ventilation for circulation spaces and informal work areas. Facing north, large open-plan office spaces and a multi-purpose staff and conference room are positioned to make good use of natural light and to overlook the paddocks and a distant Mount Grey. Fronting the key corner to the south east, the retail and reception area provides a large waiting space segregated by patient type and a children’s play area.

Context provided a full service for the design of the building from concept to construction management.

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