Cats of Brutalism: A Conversation

Virtual Event

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The Westcott House is teaming up with Cats of Brutalism to present a free virtual program - a conversation with Emily Battaglia, Madelaine Ong and Michaela Senay, creators of Cats of Brutalism, and students of the Master of Architecture program at the University at Buffalo. Cats of Brutalism is an Instagram account,  originally created by Emily, Madelaine and Michaela in 2020 as part of a studio project, advocating for brutalism, in collaboration with professors Gregory Delaney and Brett Doster. Within just a few months, their project gained thousands of followers, and was featured as one of “5 Art Accounts to Follow on Instagram Now” by The New York Times.

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 attention of the cat-loving public, as well as the architecture and design aficionados, with a goal of involving the public in conversations about brutalism and the future of brutalist buildings.


Wednesday July 21, 6:00 pm Eastern
Free, advance registration required

In addition to the student team, the program guests include Gregory Delaney and Dr. Angus Fletcher.

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. Delaney 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. As The OSU student, he guided tours of the Westcott House.

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, "Wonderworks: The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature" (Simon & Schuster, 2021) details the mental health and wellbeing benefits of over two dozen literary breakthroughs from ancient Sumer to the present day. It has been formally endorsed by medical and humanities faculty at Yale, Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge, and has been described by Dr. Martin Seligman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, as the work of a “polymath” who combines “a profound knowledge of world literature” with “a deep knowledge of modern psychology and of neuroscience." More info:

About Westcott House

Westcott House Foundation’s mission is to preserve and interpret Frank Lloyd Wright’s Westcott House and inspire creativity and innovation through architecture and design education. The house opened to the public in 2005, following a major restoration. A community-wide effort led to a rescue of this remarkable example of Wright’s design from the brink of demolition. Since then, the site has served as a cultural resource, community hub & economic stimulator, attracting visitors from all over the U.S. and beyond. Learn more at

About Cats of Brutalism

Cats of Brutalism -- “your daily dose of cats and concrete” -- 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). Learn more at