Wodonga, Victoria

The MARS Petcare Centre in Wodonga is a unique facility to house cats and dogs for the research of pet foods that puts animal welfare as the highest priority.  

In developing this facility, MARS Petcare understood the potential perception issues with an animal testing facility, so the design needed to communicate very openly that this facility has the pets’ best interests at heart.

To do this, we considered how to showcase best and reflect the MARS Petcare Mission of “Making a Better World for Pets” and MARS Five Principles of Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom.

The first step was a design that locates the facility at the entry to their main site in Wodonga so that it is visible to everyone upon entering. From there, we considered each element of their operations to see how we could develop a design that built on that openness, and we developed the idea of green roofs – not just for people, but for pets too. Instead of putting the dog pens and training yards at the back of the facility, they became an integral and visible part of the design, flowing over the top of the building to create sculptural mounds, which skylights pierce, bringing an abundance of natural light to the rooms underneath.

In addition to considering the welfare of the pets, the facility is designed to be certified as a Quarantine Approved Premise to allow the testing of pet food imported from overseas and include the capability to isolate dogs and cats in separate areas.

In line with MARS’s principle of Freedom, the design of the building expresses a point of difference from other competitors, showcasing how MARS stands apart.