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RA-DA to the Rescue! Architecture for Man's Best Friend

Design Trends

Architecturally creative, open-minded and always focused on the unique, Rania Alamor has garnered prestige and recognition for her body of work with her architecture firm RA-DA. We recently sat down to discuss her life, projects and what's next for her in the world of architecture.

“Always ask the obscure," state Rania as we begin by discussing the work process surrounding RA-DA. “When starting any design, we push the boundaries and get out of our comfort zone, which I believe is so important to the success of our projects." For example, what is the architecture of sound? By describing, showcasing renderings and the job flow, I see how the idea of sound is captured within application, creating an amazingly successful interior.

Rania studied architecture in Manchester, England, where she was raised, and then after deciding between graphic artistry or architecture, she pursued her graduate degree at SCI-Arc. It was here she found herself immersed in inspiring ideas, surrounded by professors who guided her along with way, showing her that as an architect, she could do it all in the field of architecture, signage and graphics included.

Upon graduation, several years were spent in commercial architecture within the sports and entertainment industry. Then, once she felt ready to pursue her dream of owning an architecture firm, RA-DA was born. As Rania explains, “I always wanted to stay with commercial architecture so after years spent learning as many aspects of design from the firms I worked for, I felt it was time to make a go of it on my own." Starting from her first commissioned work, she soon received notoriety for her boutique-style firm an unusual projects. “We tend to keep everything into the work, and in this office it's all about the client experience. That is most important. We explore and research, always growing and studying in order to be on the leading edge of design." And with RA-DA's business model of collaboration, non-hierarchical, non-competitive format, Rania's employees feel inclusive of the design process and all want the best of the project.

One unusual area of expertise RA-DA has tapped into as a boutique firm is the work they've done for animal shelters. These long-neglected places have typically felt more like prisons, less like inspiring places of rescue for animals. Here are two projects that will hopefully inspire much-needed changes in animal health and welfare.

CASE STUDY 1: Westside German Shepherd Rescue, Los Angeles, CA
photo credit: Ralf Strathmann

The goal of the Westside German Shepherd Rescue was to change the idea of animal adoption, thereby increasing adoptions and educating the public on the joys of German Shepherd adoptions. Replacing this adoption concept with the idea of “re-homing" an animal, the idea is to show that these animals are happy, well-adjusted creatures and just going from one home to another.

The design of the rescue center focuses on the Cape Cod residential interior and exterior. Within the building, there's a gallery meant to resemble an outdoor boardwalk. The kennels are series of “houses" or cabanas painted in various shades of Dunn-Edwards blues, creating a calming environment for all.

DEW383 Cool December

DE5814 Anchors Away

DE5815 Frozen Lake

DE5813 Two Harbors

DE6212 Crisp Muslin

DEC756 Weathered Brown

DE5778 Crystal River

DEW380 White

DEW395 Heirloom Shade

The reaction? “The clients loved it…and so did the dogs!"

CASE STUDY 2: South Los Angeles Animal Care Center & Community Center

Throwing old notions of animal adoption out the window, the City of Los Angeles sought to create a welcoming environment for visitors and animals in order to increase adoptions and reduce euthanasia.

With color as a focal point of the design, the shelter brightens the surrounding industrial area, creating a place where visitors want to take their time and choose their new best friend. “Color is key to delineate the active spaces," Rania exclaims, “The use of broad strokes of color is an easy and unique, important way of showing the uses of various spaces."

DEW383 Cool December

DE5579 Cabbage Patch

DE5578 Wasabi

DE5525 Pale View

Though just completed, the project has created quite a bit of buzz and is already gleaning awards. Zeftron just awarded RA-DA the Zeftron Sustainability Award, plus the Los Angeles Business Council Award. Along with the awards, the press has heard about this unique project. Look for Rania on CNN, in Humane Society magazine and other publications.

Rania Alomar is a creative genius with a unique talent of finding the unusual opportunity and fresh approach to architecture. Look for many more works to come.

To contact RA-DA,

All photography with courtesy and permission of RA-DA, the City of Los Angeles, and Ralf Strathmann