Tuesday, December 13, 2011

cat shelter

Lúcio, in collaboration with FXFOWLE, designed a feral cat shelter to be donated and located somewhere in the 5 boroughs of New York City. The cat shelter serves as a kitty ‘pod hotel’ containing 3 fully insulated pods varying in length to be used primarily in the colder winter months and 2 non insulated pods for the summer with the interstitial space and plywood frame serving as a kitty jungle gym. Each pod contains a pair of hinged doors to allow entry from either end, as well as to provide two means of egress in case of a threat. The pods are easily removable from the plywood frame for maintenance and repair, and can be retrofitted or swapped out to accommodate growing colonies or different seasons.

Using the concept of a vacuum flask (thermos), each insulated pod was fabricated by placing a tube within a larger tube and filling the void between the two with insulation. A 10” PVC tube wrapped with recycled plastic insulation was placed into a 12” PVC tube and the two ends were filled with expanding foam insulation and capped with a laser cut white acrylic ring onto which the cat doors were fixed. All joints and seams were filled with silicone sealant to make the pods water resistant. Each non insulated pod was produced using a 10” PVC tube wrapped in ½” sisal rope and capped at each end with cat doors. The sisal rope provides a scratch surface for sharpening claws and a textured surface for cats to climb and lounge on.

The frame was painted using a polyurethane based wood stain to seal the plywood and give it rich walnut color. Each of the vertical ribs and horizontal struts were fastened together using brad nails and flat-head screws.

2.5m long x 1.1m wide x .8m high
25 vertical ribs – 33 notches/rib
33 horizontal struts – 25 notches/strut
(10) ¾” sheets baltic birch plywood
(4) ½ pint Minwax American Chestnut Gloss Polyshade
(1) 10 foot 12” PVC tube
(1) 10 foot 10” PVC tube
(1)  Roll recycled plastic insulation
(2) Expanding Foam Insulation spray cans
(10) Glaztec Catwalk cat doors
400 feet ½” sisal rope

More information on the event:

Giving Shelter is a one-night event that benefits the Mayor Bloomberg’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. Participating architectural firms design, build and donate creative and fun outdoor winter shelters to provide NYC’s homeless cats with refuge from the cold/freezing temperatures. At the event these shelters are on display to the public, and then donated to caregivers who work with the NYC Feral Cat Initiative.

According to current estimates, tens of thousands of homeless, stray and free-roaming cats live on the streets and in alleyways, back yards, and abandoned lots throughout the city. Many of the cats live in groups known as “colonies.” The winter months are particularly difficult for these cats, when inclement weather creates serious and life-threatening challenges, including finding food, water, and shelter. Shelter is vitally important and that is where the architectural community comes in. Giving Shelter is a competitive event in which the architectural and design industries will showcase their talents while improving the lives of NYC’s outdoor & homeless cats.


Thanks to Philip Anzalone, Brigette Borders, & Ray Ho from Columbia University GSAPP Laboratory for Applied Building Science, for CNC milling the plywood (http://www.arch.columbia.edu/labs/fablab). Thanks to Nobu Arai and Gerardo Sustaeta for assembly and fabrication of the pods and many thanks to Brien McDaniel for organizing the initiative. 

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