CO ADAPTIVE ARCHITECTURE

New York creates a new kind of shelter to help the city track its feral cat population

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 a prototype cat shelter that could be replicated throughout the five boroughs

The results of months of testing 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 FXFowleGage ClemenceauH3RMJM; Team Anemoi (Christina Ciardullo, Wanlika Kaewkamchand, Hiroko Nakatani, and Kate Kulpa), and a collaboration between The American Street Cat, Inc. founder, Kathryn Walton and Co Adaptive Architecture.

Exhibition underdogs (or, at least, youngsters) Co Adaptive Architecture left the victors that night, with a design that proposed simple, tech-based solutions to tracking and caring for 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 created a system of individual shelters, each equipped 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.

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.

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

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