Architects Design Reactive Shelter Colonies for NYC Stray Cats
December 29, 2011
An LED lights up when the shelter is occupied, while an internal sensor sends data about the cat’s stay to a base colony.
It’s estimated that there are over 10,000 stray cats in New York City. But with myriad other human problems, issues like feral cats tend to fall by the city’s wayside. A recent competition organized by Architects for Animals asked the city’s designers to address the burgeoning problem by designing cat shelters that would eventually be donated to animal care centers throughout the five boroughs. Continue.
The results of the competition were unveiled in December at a exhibition benefiting the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. Attendees voted for their favorites from a lineup of entrants that included FXFowle; Gage Clemenceau; H3; RMJM; Team Anemoi (Christina Ciardullo, Wanlika Kaewkamchand, Hiroko Nakatani, and Kate Kulpa), and a collab between The American Street Cat, Inc. founder and architect Kathryn Walton and Co Adaptive Architecture.
Walton and Co Adaptive were voted the winners that night, with a design that proposed simple, tech-based solutions to tracking strays. The team proposed a wireless network of shelter nodes and larger colony “base stations” that mimic the natural habitation patterns of strays, which tend to form “colonies” of separate but proximal nodes. Co Adaptive and Walton equipped their shelter with a pressure sensor, scale, and radio transmitter. The shelters sense when a cat has entered the space, sending a data packet back to central “base stations” that includes the cat’s weight and duration of stay. This information is uploaded to the web in real-time, where the Mayor’s Alliance and other animal welfare organizations can use it to monitor the health of the city’s feral populations.
Walton is a 1997 GSAPP Grad who founded The American Street Cat, Inc. in 2010. Co Adaptive Architecture is a Brooklyn-based office, founded by fellow GSAPP grads Ruth Mandl and Bobby Johnston earlier this year. You can check out their website over here.