Take shelter: Architects for Animals initiates well-designed homes for cats
Architects for Animals has proof that animals appreciate pioneering design as much as humans. The charitable initiative has invited some of LA’s top architects and designers to take part in its 2016 benefit by creating homes for feral cats in need of shelter from the elements.
Of course, it isn’t the first time starchitects lend their skills to faithful furry friends. Japanese graphic designer Kenya Hara famously set up Architecture for Dogs in 2012.
For Architects for Animals, twelve firms donated brilliant designs that address the functional and social needs of street cats – incorporating playful elements, such as built-in feeding bowls, string toys, a ‘trophy’ gallery of mice or a live fish bowl – while all the while still appealing to the human eye.
Among the outstanding and quirky structures, Standard Architecture | Design constructed a self-heating shelter — the California Catcube — designed to give the ideal conditions for a catnap. Built from reclaimed wood and concrete the shelter traps heat during the day and releases it during the cool of the night; meanwhile, movable wood louvers work like window shutters to allow fresh air to circulate, should its inhabitant feel the need. For the more cultured cat, Pfeiffer Partners Architects’ ‘Teatro de Gato’ (Cat Theatre) allows the feline thespian a chance in the spotlight on their own personal stage.
Leslie Farrell, Founder of Architects for Animals, started picking up the phone in 2009 to invite architects and designers to build and donate designs. It is now one of the most popular and unique events on Los Angeles’ design calendar. ‘I have always been a fan of architecture, design and artists,’ she says. ‘I decided to devote my effort to create an event that would bring these worlds together and ultimately provide new ways to raise awareness and help animals that are suffering.’
The shelters were unveiled at a sold-out benefit in March, and all of the proceeds go to FixNation – who provide medical care and spray/neutering of homeless cats throughout LA County.