Design for People

Our focus in designing spaces for the care of animals not only considers animals, but their caretakers as well. The built environment can and should positively influence our productivity and performance. We all want to live and work in places that are light, bright, and comfortable. All of our designs consider the benefits of:

  • Sunlight
  • Proper ventilation
  • Ergonomics
  • Noise reduction

Firm History

Animal Arts was first established in 1979 by Lawrence Gates and Mark Hafen as Gates Hafen Architects. In 1986, our very first veterinary client, Animalhouse Veterinary Clinic, won a Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Award. This award helped springboard the firm into specializing strictly in the design of animal care facilities all across the United States.

Today, as Animal Arts, our partners continue the commitment to excellence in animal care design envisioned by our now retired founders.

People & Values

Our first commitment is to our clients, supporting their priorities, goals, and needs. We have been very fortunate in assembling a staff that care greatly about creating imaginative and state-of-the-art designs for people and animals. These people are our most valuable resource and are ready and willing to work with you to find innovative ways to create the facility of your dreams.

Working Long Distance

During our years of working on projects across the U.S. and internationally, we have developed systems to streamline our communications with our clients. Through telephone calls and GoToMeetings, we listen to your ideas, needs, and intentions. After each of these conversations, we incorporate the information gathered into drawings or notes that we then share via email or our FPT site for your review and comment.

This dynamic process provides the checks and balances necessary to create a successful project.

Learn More
The Fearless Leaders

Our Partners

Tony L. Cochrane, AIA


Tony is a 35-year veteran and senior member of the Animal Arts team. We often turn to him for his unique ability to take a design idea and turn it into a three-dimensional reality. Tony has demonstrated his ability to work cooperatively with large and diverse organizations, municipalities and local architectural firms on multiple veterinary and animal shelter projects.

We call Tony the man with the magic pencil.

Heather E. Lewis, AIA, NCARB


Heather joined Animal Arts in 2000 and became a Principal in 2004. She is extremely versatile and highly experienced in all aspects of animal care design from the front-end development of animal shelter projects to the construction of large-scale veterinary projects. Heather is our resident equine and large animal design expert. She is also a member of the Fear Free Advisory Board and the author of the Fear Free standards for veterinary hospital design.

Vicki J. Pollard, AIA, CVT, NCARB


Vicki brings unique experience to Animal Arts with degrees in architecture and veterinary technology and is both a Registered Architect and a Certified Veterinary Technician. She joined Animal Arts in 2006 and became a Principal in 2008. Vicki has proven to have an almost unlimited capacity for keeping track of owner’s requirements, specialized medical equipment, and design details on complex, large-scale veterinary specialty facilities.

Ashley M. Shoults, AIA


Ashley joined Animal Arts in 2006 and became a Principal in 2012. She has broad experience in the design of veterinary hospitals, animal shelters, and boarding facilities with a proven ability to see a project through from start to finish with great care and attention to detail.

Ashley also serves as our Managing Partner, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the firm.

Sean M. McMurray, AIA, NCARB


Sean joined the Animal Arts’ team in 2012 and became a Principal in 2015. Sean’s specialty is in the technical aspects of design, including an expertise in AutoCAD and presentation graphics. He also has a comprehensive understanding of the construction process and the development of intricate design details. Sean has worked on a number of complex hospital remodels projects and has a knack for dealing with the intricacies of existing building conditions and phased construction.

Sarah E. Boman, AIA, NCARB


Sarah joined the Animal Arts’ team in 2013 and was named a Principal in January of 2018. She previously worked for a consulting firm in Washington D.C. providing technical, strategy, and management support to the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Building Technologies Program. Sarah’s specialty is in the technical aspects of design, including expertise in BIM and sustainability. She also has a comprehensive understanding of the construction process, integration with engineering systems, and the complexities of animal housing design.
The Amazing People That Make It Happen

Our Team