The Republic of Cyprus has a storied history with cats. There is some evidence that the animals were first domesticated by a neolithic tribe on the Eastern Mediterranean island, and there is a legend that Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, imported cats to Cyprus to control an infestation of snakes.
Today, the feline kind is given free rein in municipal gardens and parks, fed by locals and living out in the open — until recently. As part of the Pafos 2017 – European Capital of Culture SECOND NATURE competition, TEECOM Designer Emilio Koutsoftides worked with partner Gabor Stark to develop a cat shelter for the Municipal Garden in Ktima, Cyprus.
Koutsoftides engages in design competitions such as this one to exercise his graphic and written communication skills. Trained as an architect, he embraces his role at TEECOM as a translator of abstract technical concepts into architectural narratives, models, and renderings. PolyCatOikia was an opportunity for Koutsoftides to tell a complete story from idea through construction.
Called PolyCatOikia, the “cat hotel” features fourteen semi-enclosed private suites plus four communal restaurants, or Feeding Loggias. Koutsoftides and his design partner listened carefully to their clients’ wants and needs, and added an open-plan roof terrace to provide for the cats’ favorite activities of sunbathing, being lazy, and hanging out on top of things.
The modular design is “balanced by the meandering circulation system of kitten-safe ramps, bridges and balconies, allowing for manifold cat walks and choreographies,” in the words of the designers. In the words of the cats, the design is “meow-dern.” After the Pafos 2017 program, the structure will be donated to a cat sanctuary in Cyprus.