We all know that a cat will sit where it fits, but if they were huge, couldn't that become a little bit problematic? Well, you should never underestimate a cat's ability to curl up in the most unexpected places, and this Instagram account understands that perfectly. "Cats of Brutalism" shows what would happen if cats suddenly blew up or cities shrunk. One way or another, black and white digital manipulations show cats taking over the most spectacular examples of brutalist architecture around the world.
Three students of Master of Architecture at the University at Buffalo, Emily Battaglia, Madelaine Ong, and Michaela Senay, set up the account to provide people with a "daily dose of cats and concrete," something you'd probably never have imagined you'd enjoy so much, and didn't expect it to become overwhelmingly popular with 83.7k Instagram followers. However, the juxtaposition of rough brutalist structures with soft and adorable cats creates absurd, yet whimsical images people can't seem to get enough of.
Emily Battaglia, one of the creators of the project, told Bored Panda:
“We never imagined this project would reach the audience it has. Our goal originally was to reach an audience of about 1,500 in 3 months to be able to call it successful. By 3 months, we were close to 20 thousand. The response has been very positive as well. We have received a lot of appraisal and support, which is what motivates us to post daily.”
Scroll through the gallery of cat-zillas and discover the wonders of brutalist architecture at the same time, then let us know which photos you like the most!
"Musical Island", Villa-Lobos State Park; Decio Tozzi, 1989, São Paulo, Brazil
Bored Panda spoke to all three creators behind "Cats of Brutalism" to find out more about the adorable series. Michaela told us about the idea behind the project:
"Our initial goal was to create an Instagram page that could promote the preservation of brutalism and the style of brutalist architecture as a whole. We wanted to be able to differentiate ourselves from other architectural pages. There is controversy surrounding the discussion on whether or not brutalism is worth preserving and rather than being politically driven, we thought adding humor, such as the photoshopping of cats, could still be used to promote brutalism in a fun and light-hearted way. The first post we created was that of Paul Rudolph's Earl W. Brydges Public Library in Niagara Falls, New York and we used images of my cat. We all found it humorous and decided to continue creating more."
Central Post Office; Janko Konstantinov, 1982, Skopje, Macedonia
Emily added: "The goal of the project was to create discussion on brutalist structures, as we recognized brutalism as an under-represented and under-appreciated architecture style. We believed the two contrasting subjects, super-scaled cats playing/interacting with it, can bring two communities together, cat lovers and architecture lovers, to educate and genuinely entertain viewers."
Rivergate Tower; Harry Wolf, 1988, Tampa, Florida
Milwaukee Police Administration Building; 1971, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Madelaine seconds the other creators, saying that brutalism is under-appreciated, and shares what they like about it the most.
"We chose brutalist architecture because it was recognized as an architectural style that is under-represented and under-appreciated globally. Since brutalism has multiple textures, ranging from monolithic 'blocky' appearances to 'corduroy' textured concrete, we believed it would be the perfect pairing for super-scaled cats to experience these forms as play objects that cats would love to play on, perch on, lay on, climb on, and scratch on. We began experimenting with cats up for adoption and brutalist buildings in need of attention, bridging two subjects that need awareness. We like that brutalist architecture has versatility when it comes to its design and can be found as a neighboring style in one's country."
U-House; Toyo Itob, 1977 D. 1988, Tokyo, Japan
Palácio Da Justiça; Oscar Niemeyer, 1962, Brasilia, Brazil
We asked what are the most challenging and the most rewarding parts of "Cats of Brutalism," here's what Madelaine said:
"The most challenging thing about our project would be finding a good pairing between cat and building to create a post. Sometimes, we'd research a building but find the cat we'd like to pair with it doesn't end up matching the building as we thought it would and vice versa. The most rewarding thing about our project is the immense support we've received from fans and newspaper platforms in different parts of the world. We never thought our project would have exploded the way it did and are appreciative towards the growing community it has formed each day."
Mondadori Group Headquarters; Oscar Niemeyer, 1975, Milan, Italy
Tate & Lyle Sugar Silo; Stuart Stephenson, 1957, Liverpool, England
Omsk Musical Theatre; Lurie, Strigun And Belousova, 1981, Omsk Oblast, Russia
Michaela said that the three of them work on a project as a group:
"There really is no formula or specific job given amongst the three of us. We have a group chat that we use for communicating. We all have access to Instagram as well as email and if something needs to be addressed we can directly respond to each other using our group chat. We also use an online board where we can organize posts created. We all contribute to making posts and responding to emails, direct messages, requests, etc."
The Rock, Brown University Library; Warner, Burns, Toan & Lunde, 1964, Providence, Rhode Island
Dr Seo's Women's Clinic Building (Atrium Office Building); Chung-Up Kim, 1967, Seoul, Korea
Ohio History Center; Ireland & Associates, 1970, Columbus, Ohio
"Cats of Brutalism" is a collaborative project and anyone can submit their cat photos and request a brutalist building on their website. Emily said that they also use photos of cats from adoption websites and pages to bring awareness to cats looking for homes. So head to the website if you want to see your little monster conquering buildings. Meanwhile, the team is hoping to grow their page even more and bring attention to the style of brutalism in different forms.