Felines are mankind’s greatest companion (sorry dogs, it’s true!), but the best dwelling we can create for them consists of stapling some beige carpet to plywood and calling it a cat tree.
Architects for Animals, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness for animals by bringing better shelters to our pets, recently enlisted architecture firms from around the U.S. to design a series of outdoor dwellings for cats. Fourteen firms were given three months to complete the challenge pro bono, and the results were featured on display during a fundraiser for the free spay and neuter group, FixNation.
Now, I’m not so certain the submissions are the best form of outdoor shelter–roofs and weatherproofing are in short supply–but they are certainly fun and inventive takes on an industry that believes the pinnacle of design is wrapped in leopard print and topped with a pink feather.
Standard Architecture built a modernist concrete cube (that, for what it’s worth, I really wish could hide a litter box). NAC Architecture created a series of carpet cylinders, shingled in Pantone swatches. D3 Architecture cleverly repurposed a few shipping palettes into a multi-platform cat tree. DSH Architecture deployed five bonded aluminum hula hoops outfitted with strings of rayon webbing. This webbing is both a lounging area for the cat, and a toy for the cat to pluck at. And in what is the most avant-garde design of them all, Lehrer Architects used 16-gauge sheet metal and artificial turf to construct a precariously spiraling, abstract ramp. Without any cats in the photo, you’d liken it to the snobbiest of sculptures. With the cats in the photo, you just wonder if someone is meme-punking you.
After the fundraiser was over, the cat houses were donated to FixNation. Architects for Animals assures us that all of the designs “have been kitten tested, and those little guys loved them all.”
If you liked these cat houses, check out what the Muji team created for dogs a while back.