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 a small opportunity to create a story that was as durable as the shelter itself. 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 other people in the construction -- and to engage children (and adults) in a challenging and rewarding clandestine adventure.

Think “forts” and “camouflage”!

Pilot Projects intern Anne Chen drew from the genre of early 20th-century adventure "how-to" books for inspiration and practical guidance. Pilot Projects will be building one such cat fort in Central Park over the next few weeks. Several other people have been inspired to build more. All of the locations are secret to protect the cats' privacy and desire to stay wild.

Click here (PDF) to view the design concept.

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