Design studio Davidson Rafailidis has completed the renovation and addition of a century-old, two-story brick building in Buffalo, NY into a cat café for a local entrepreneur, Buckminster’s Cat Café. Cat cafés offer a unique typology, given health regulations that demand air-tight separation between animals and food preparation—in this case, cats and coffee.
▼建筑外观，exterior view ©Florian Holzherr
▼设计示意（1900-2050），diagram (1900-2050) ©Davidson Rafailidis
Davidson Rafailidis emphasized the ethos of Together Apart with a layout and design scheme characterized by a combination of separations, slices, and overlaps. The building can be accessed from either end, allowing an independent functioning of both halves while still being physically and visually connected. The street-facing entrance, through the brick facade, leads directly to the café and kitchen, where coffee and pastries are served and prepared. The back entrance, which is accessible from the cat patio (affectionately dubbed the “catio”), opens into the rear environment where the cats live and interact with guests and potential adopters.
▼庭院入口，patio entrance ©Florian Holzherr
▼后方立面，the rear facade ©Florian Holzherr
▼庭院，the patio ©Florian Holzherr
▼室内平面示意，interior plan oblique ©Davidson Rafailidis
These heterogeneous zones meet in the middle at a series of transparent, zig-zagged partitions. The kitchen counter is sliced by a glass wall allowing for unexpected visual encounters of cats from the café. Similarly, long terrazzo benches and a continuous light strip are bifurcated by the separation wall but extend into both zones, creating further visual continuity and connection. Windows likewise stick halfway into the washroom and halfway into the seating area, and the stepped bathroom is mirrored by the stepped cat-litter-room.
▼内部空间入口，entrance to the interior ©Florian Holzherr
▼猫咪活动空间，the cat area ©Florian Holzherr
▼玻璃隔断，the partitions ©Florian Holzherr
At the building’s rear, the cat area is halved by a folding-sliding aluminum façade, which opens onto a gravel patio. A brick wall hems the patio. Stepped on one side, it echoes the zig-zagging form of the adjacent glass partition, and is perforated by a large glass window at the rear. Surface-mounted onto the exterior, the window’s frame is invisible from the patio’s interior and creates the illusion of an uncovered opening—as if the cats could jump out at any moment. Likewise, it blurs the separation between inside and outside, establishing a continuous sightline connecting the project’s various zones.
▼猫咪活动区通过一个滑动折叠墙分隔成两半，the cat area is halved by a folding-sliding aluminum façade ©Florian Holzherr
▼最末端的墙面开设了一扇巨大的玻璃窗 ©Florian Holzherr
the brick wall is perforated by a large glass window at the rear
▼从外部望向庭院，view to the patio from outside ©Florian Holzherr
Cross the renovation, the material and color palettes are clean, neutral, and cohesive, further emphasizing 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.
▼咖啡馆区域，cafe area ©Florian Holzherr
▼室内细节，interior details ©Florian Holzherr
▼建筑夜景，night view of the building ©Florian Holzherr
▼隔墙结构示意，partition diagram ©Davidson Rafailidis
▼平面图，plan ©Davidson Rafailidis
Design: Davidson Rafailidis (Stephanie Davidson and Georg Rafailidis) Design team: Stephanie Davidson, Georg Rafailidis, Alyssa Seguin Engineer of Record: John Banaszak
General Contractor: CFR Construction & Restoration
Custom Fabrication: Spielman Fabrication
Photography by Florian Holzherr