Cats of Brutalism is directed by Emily Battaglia, Madelaine Ong and Michaela Senay; three Master of Architecture students at the University at Buffalo. The account originally started off as part of a studio project, advocating for brutalism, in collaboration with professors Gregory Delaney and Brett Doster. The studio focused on the past, present and future of a local brutalist building; the Earl W. Brydges Public Library in Niagara Falls, New York (1968-1974), designed by American architect Paul Rudolph (1918-1997).
As we looked more into the style of brutalism we identified the style to be under-represented. In addressing the challenge this posed, we set out to develop a project that pressed on this style, period, and its association, not only as a means of design and social commentary, but as a way to engage the broader public.
Cats of Brutalism juxtaposes brutalist buildings with super-scaled cats as a means of introducing warmth, softness, and whimsy to the often-perceived-as cold, hard, and severe forms of brutalism. The pairing is intentionally absurd, but also fitting—the rough textures, complex forms, and often compartmentalized and/or aggregate massing of brutalism offers the ideal post for scratching, climbing, hiding, and perching, as cats do. As a response to the internet’s obsession with all-things-cats and cat-humor, the account aims to capture the intrigue of a cat-loving public in combination with a common architecture and design audience, toward the ultimate aim of involving the public in conversations about brutalism and the futures of brutalist buildings. At the same time, the account has begun to take on a life of its own, and we’re excited to see where that takes us.
Earl W. Brydges Public Library
Niagara Falls, New York