Thanks to Sheila Kim, freelance design journalist who writes about residential, commercial, and product design for various media outlets including Architectural Record and Metropolis.
It’s pretty much a given: Invite architects to build sculptures out of food cans, carve pumpkins for Halloween, or design a mini-golf course for a cause, and you’re guaranteed to draw a sizable crowd with a garden of visual delights. But add cats into the equation and you’ve taken things up a dozen notches. One such event captivates the Los Angeles design community and cat lovers alike year after year —Architects for Animals “Giving Shelter” 2017. On October 19, the 10th edition returned to the Herman Miller showroom in Culver City to once again raise awareness of the city’s homeless cat population—which is considered to be one of the country’s largest—as well as raise funds for LA-based nonprofit FixNation.
Local architects and designers participated in the event by creating, building, and donating unique—yet functional—outdoor dwellings for cats, while feline-loving celebrities (such as Clint Eastwood and Kristen Bell) also joined the cause by decorating and donating one-of-a-kind food bowls. All the bowls and shelters are currently being auctioned online here.
Here are the 13 dwellings in this year’s program:
Abramson Teiger Architects’ “White Jack,” which playfully references the traditional game of jacks with a tubular structure that cats can crawl through.
Abramson Teiger Architects’ “Ball of Twine,” a rigid sphere constructed with the string material.
CallisonRTKL’s cathedral-evoking perch with faux stained-glass windows and a scaled-down disco ball.
d3architecture’s upcycled-HVAC equipment shelter, a quirky take on feral cats living in urban alleys.
ES-EN-EM’s “Meow Miaow,” a flat plywood composition that folds into an origami-inspired faceted piece of furniture.
Formation Association, Terremoto Landscape, and Arktura’s collaborative project “Flora-Gato,” a biomorphic trellis-pouf of recycled, fiberized plastic, Spanish moss, and Korean grass.
HKS’s “CAnT WE ALL GET ALONG,” a humorous composition of a fish-shaped shelter with birdhouses above.
HOK’s seven-chamber shelter constructed with faux wood tubes with soft-felt lining.
Knowhow Shop’s fictional Cat Exploration Program with Lunar Cat Lander (’nuff said).
Kollin Altomare Architects’ “Cat’s Win! Cat’s Win!” is a multifunctional piece that provides “exercise” and scratching surfaces, varying heights for perching, and an interior hiding space.
Perkins+Will’s “UnFURled,” a whimsical spiral shelter that’s actually assembled from a kit of interchangeable parts.
Stantec’s red-thread and slatted plywood structure, some might say reminiscent of a Calatrava work.
Standard Architecture | Design’s “Catosphere,” a concrete and reclaimed teak pod paying homage to the John Lautner Chemosphere house.
FixNation provides free TNR (trap, neuter/spay, and return) services and cat-colony management programs across the U.S. as a humane alternative to traditional control methods. “Many communities use lethal methods in an attempt to control the population of stray, abandoned, and feral cats,” stated Karn Myers, executive director and cofounder of FixNation. “Such methods are not only horribly cruel, they simply don’t work. We founded FixNation because we know TNR is the effective and compassionate alternative.”
Photos by Meghan Bob Photography.