Recording: Cats of Brutalism. A Conversation.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - 6:00pm to Monday, November 22, 2021 - 7:00pm


Originally broadcast on Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 via Zoom webinar

The Westcott House teamed up with Cats of Brutalism to present a free virtual event - a conversation with Emily Battaglia, Madelaine Ong and Michaela Senay, creators of Cats of Brutalism, and students of Master of Architecture program at the University at Buffalo, who were joined by Gregory Delaney, their professor at the University at Buffalo, and Angus Fletcher, professor of English and faculty member of Project Narrative at The Ohio State University. This virtual program was moderated by Marta Wojcik and Kevin Rose of the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.


Cats of Brutalism is an Instagram account, originally created by Emily, Madelaine and Michaela 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). In recognition of the fact that the style of brutalism is underappreciated and underrepresented, the students 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.

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Our Speakers:

Emily Battaglia is from Buffalo, New York and is a Master of Architecture student at the University at Buffalo. Moving forward after her degree, she hopes to be involved with community projects and preservation and has an interest in architecture that provides for public use.




Gregory Delaney is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University at Buffalo, where he teaches courses in architecture history, building and urban analysis, and studios in architecture and urban design. Further, he is dedicated to advancing student knowledge and criticality through on-site experiences and travel, running intensive domestic and study abroad programs. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University's Knowlton School, where he received both his bachelor's and master's degrees.


Angus Fletcher, Professor of English, Faculty Member of Project Narrative @The Ohio State University. Dr. Angus Fletcher is a practitioner of story science, with dual degrees in neuroscience (BS, University of Michigan) and literature (PhD, Yale). His research employs a mix of laboratory experiment, literary history and rhetorical theory to explore the psychological effects—cognitive, behavioral, therapeutic—of different narrative technologies. His most recent book is entitled "Wonderworks: The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature" (Simon & Schuster, 2021). Learn more here.



Madelaine Ong is from Queens, New York and is a Master of Architecture student at the University at Buffalo. Upon graduating, she aspires to be invested in urban design and advocate for community based projects hoping to influence the community of neighborhoods and bring a sense of pride and engagement in her career as a future practicing architect.




Michaela Senay is from Buffalo, New York as is currently a student in the Master of Architecture program at the University at Buffalo. Upon her graduation in the spring of 2022, she would like to become involved with other preservation opportunities and projects within Erie County.