davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall

davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall

davidson rafailidis has renovated a century-old, two-story brick building in buffalo, NY, and transformed it into a cat café for a local entrepreneur, buckminster’s cat café. the project, titled ‘together, apart’, features a layout and design scheme characterized by a combination of separations, slices, and overlaps. the building can be accessed from either end, allowing both halves to function independently while still being physically and visually connected. past the street-facing brick façade, one enters directly in the café and kitchen, where coffee and pastries are served and prepared. the back entrance, which is accessible from the cat patio (or, ‘catio’), opens into the rear environment where the cats live and interact with guests and potential adopters.davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wallall images by florian holzherr

 

 

davidson rafailidis transformed the two-story brick building, built in approximately 1900 with a 1940s extension, into a cat café that can easily accommodate other dualistic scenarios where division is necessary but not absolute, such as spaces for laptop/non laptop use, music/quiet, smoking/non smoking. ‘we are interested in connecting activities that are otherwise problematic to come together,’ says stephanie davidson, co-principal of the design studio. the building comprises two main zones, which can function independently while remaining physically and visually connected.davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall

 

 

health regulations for the unique typology of a cat café required air-tight separation between animals and food preparation, which the designers integrated into the design scheme of separations, slices, and overlaps. ‘while there is a physical separation satisfying the health code, it is just one of many sliced, mismatched, misaligned, and mirrored elements in the space,’ adds davidson. the two zones meet in the middle at a series of transparent, zig-zagged partitions. the kitchen counter is sliced by a glass wall that allows for unexpected visual encounters of cats from the café.davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall

 

 

visual continuity and connection is enhanced by long terrazzo benches and a continuous light strip, which are divided by the separation wall but extend into both zones. similarly, windows stick halfway into the washroom and halfway into the seating area, and the stepped bathroom is mirrored by the stepped cat-litter-room. at the back of the building, the cat area is cut in half by a folding-sliding aluminum façade, which opens onto a gravel patio encased in a brick wall. the wall is stepped on one side, echoing the zig-zagging form of the adjacent glass partition, and is perforated by a large glass window at the rear.davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall

 

 

the project’s material and color palette is neutral and cohesive in order to further emphasize sightlines through dividing walls. black terrazzo tiles line the interior floor, from the front café to the back cat environment, while matching terrazzo counters and benches extend into both zones creating mirrored volumes. interior walls and window frames are either painted white, light gray, or clad in light wood (white oak plywood, poplar), and hardware is stainless steel and natural anodized aluminum.

 

‘the idea was to use resilient materials like terrazzo, so that the inside could withstand time as well as the outside brick shell has,’ notes davidson. ‘and the subdued palette is meant to highlight whatever specific, programmatic elements end up being planted in the space.’

davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall

 

davidson rafailidis’ long-term vision for the overarching lot sees this renovation as the first in a series of new, mixed-use structures which will fill the entire lot overtime, a process referred to as ‘continual construction’. elements of future phases are already visible in the current phase, such as blocks for a new construction at the rear, which could be used to build a future live/work space, chicken coop, small animal clinic, chiropractor, reflexology/massage, or daycare. in response to relatively new city zoning that encourages 90% lot density, the studio’s goal is to achieve both maximum density and formal heterogeneity.davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall davidson rafailidis completes cat café in buffalo, NY, with zig-zag brick wall

 

 

project info:

 

name: together, apart

designer: davidson rafailidis

team: stephanie davidson, georg rafailidis, alyssa seguin

engineer of record: john banaszak

general contractor: CFR construction & restoration

custom fabrication: spielman fabrication

location: buffalo, NY, US

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