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Parasitic architecture part 1.

Today is dedicated to exploring the notion of parasitic architecture. For the purposes of the exercise, that expression means the impromptu extension of an existing building, in a way that appears to be less permanent than the “host” architecture.

The following are three interesting examples.

Inflatable shelters by Michael Rakowitz.

The idea of the inflatable shelters, designed by Michael Rakowitz and known as “paraSITE”, is to provide emergency shelters for homeless people. Each is designed to be made on a budget of less than $5 using polythene bags or other material which could be recovered from waste products. The pneumatic structures are usually sleeping bag size, and are sometimes transparent so that the people using them are visible to the public.

Further detail.


Urban Tree Huts by Tadashi Kawamata.

Making a statement of a different kind, are the Urban Tree Huts that were erected by Tadashi Kawamata in the trees in Madison Square Park, New York.

Without any obvious way of entering the huts they comment on homelessness and exclusivity. The images shown here have attached themselves to masonry buildings, a tower and a long span roof structure.

Further detail.



Prefab parasite by Lara Calder Architects.

The Prefab Parasite is an elegant proposal that is as stylish as it is interesting. The proposal explores the idea of exploiting empty vertical surfaces upon which the parasite would be attached. It is interesting to note that the author of this scheme, Lara Calder Architects, has chosen an element of infrastructure to attach the proposal to. The habitable bridge is a well established archetype of course, but there are thousands of miles of road structures that are ripe for exploitation in this way. This particular structure features compressed bamboo and recycled paper amongst other materials.

 Further detail.


Christopher C. Hill.


The references for each of the featured project were selected from a post at Web Urbanist.



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