Fourth Annual Architects for Animals Winter Cat Shelter Exhibition (With a Sneak Peak!)

You may never see them, but they are there.  An estimated half-million cats living in backyards, vacant lots, alleys, and numerous other outdoor locations throughout New York City.  Winter is obviously a particularly difficult time for these cats and their caregivers – caregivers who feed them daily, monitor their health, and go to great lengths to have them spayed or neutered.

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In a project called “Architects for Animals,” founded four years ago by Leslie Farrell, and presented by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, some of the city’s most renowned architectural firms and designers design and build delightfully original winter shelters for New York City’s outdoor “community” cats to provide them with a refuge from the cold.

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A habitat made of cat food cans displayed in last year’s show

The same shelter being used by NYC community cats!


The shelters will be donated for placement in locations throughout the city where certified caretakers are caring for community cats, and will be constructed taking into consideration the environment in which they will ultimately reside. The imaginative cat homes are on display as an exhibit for one evening to benefit the NYC Feral Cat Initiative.

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A shelter from the 2011 exhibit

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A colorful shelter from the 2011 exhibit

While visitors may be drawn in to see the adorable mini cat-architecture, they’ll hopefully leave with their consciousness raised about the plight of community cats, the resources needed to care for them and the importance of trap-neuter-return(TNR).

Joe Galka's work (l) in 2013, and out in the field (r)

A multi-level cat house from the 2013 exhibit (l), and a community cat modeling it (r)

This year’s participating architectural teams include Bailly & Bailly, Carlton Architecture, Francis Cauffman Architects, deSoto studio Architects, Incorporated Architecture & Design, Elham Valipay and Haleh Atabaki of Mish Mish, M Moser Associates, Two One Two Design, and Zimmerman Workshop Architecture + Design, to name a few.

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Ball of yarn from 2010 (l), and a colorful modern display from 2013

Architects for Animals: Giving Shelter
 takes place Thursday, January 30, 2014
, 6:00–8:00 pm at the Steelcase Showroom, 4 Columbus Circle, NY, NY.  Admission is a $25 donation ($10 for Certified TNR Caretakers) and includes the exhibit, hors d’oeuvres, and drinks. A raffle also will be featured this year.

And now for a sneak peek of two renderings you’ll see fully constructed at this year’s show!

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“Our design is modular, fun and user friendly. Hopefully anyone can replicate it for their own colony.” – Francis Cauffman


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This design by Two One Two Design includes a water collection area and even a scratching pad!

You may RSVP and purchase tickets in advance online, and a limited number of tickets will also be available at the door.  Money raised from the event will be donated to the NYC Feral Cat Initiative of the Mayor’s Alliance to fund TNR activities. This is an evening like no other in New York City, and one you won’t want to miss!

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  • jmuhj

    Love the whole idea of this and hope that it will ultimately lead to safe, secure sheltering and responsible caregiver teams for ALL of the free-roaming cats, everywhere. Cats are the best rodent control, and they give great joy to all who appreciate the beauty, agility, power and wonder of the feline.

    • Tamar

      At the very least my hope is that it can raise awareness among those who may not be aware of the plight of community cats!

  • My human wishes she could attend this!

    • Tamar

      Awwwww well, you get the CAT ART SHOW! 🙂

  • Great initiative! My dad builds outdoor houses for the stray cats we take in and he introduces a feature that I didn’t see in these designs, which is some sort of escape route through the back of the house, which is useful if the cats get attacked by dogs while in their cubicles – not sure how relevant this would be in NYC, but perhaps an idea for next year’s submissions.

    • Tamar

      How wonderful of your father! Wow that’s very smart! Thanks so much for reading and leaving a message – maybe next year he should enter a design!

  • Will you be attending this year? We love the opportunity to see the clever shelters being designed when you share them. Purrs and paw-pats, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

    • Tamar

      Def! So I can take photos and report back to all of you! : )

  • We SO wish we could attend this year — last year’s event was amazing! We’ll look forward to your reportage, and in the meantime will share this on FB and Twitter. 🙂

    • Tamar

      Thank you so much! I’ll be sure to report back!

  • Ooooh, wish I had known earlier – I would have made arrangements to attend! Hopefully next year! I will also share on FB.

  • See you there!

  • It could have been a cat fight but it wasn’t. The winner of the second annual Architects for Animals competition to design a shelter for New York’s stray cats was a purrfect choice.