DIY NYC Cat Fort
Late in 2012 Pilot Projects was asked to contribute to the annual Architects for Animals "Giving Shelter" event. The event solicits cat shelters to be designed and constructed by NYC architecture firms to serve feral cat colonies in locations throughout NYC. Pilot Projects was assigned a cat community secretly living in Central Park.
We saw the design challenge as more than building a shelter for a few cats, but also as a small opportunity to infuse our local culture with imagination, knowledge, skills and care. Rather than a prefabricated building we proposed a DIY structure based on traditional Native American shelter-building using primarily natural materials found on site. We wanted to involve others in the construction - to engage children (and adults) in a challenging and rewarding clandestine adventure. Think “forts” and “camouflage!” Our larger goal is always to create stories that are at least as durable as our architecture.
Pilot Projects intern Anne Chen drew from the genre of early 20th century adventure "how-to books" to offer inspiration and practical guidance to the contemporary New Yorker. Pilot Projects will be building one such cat fort in Central Park over the next few weeks. And several other people have been inspired to build more. All of the locations are secret to protect the cats' privacy and their desire to be wild.
Click here (PDF) to view the design concept.