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Parasitic architecture

Category: Architecture October 16th, 2008 by mbc

Whilst bringing to mind images of ticks and leeches, parasitic architecture is an umbrella term, used to refer to self-contained new buildings that are attached to an existing structure. Parasitic because of the use made of existing infrastructure.

Personally, after the time and energy that have gone into my barn conversion project the prospect of picking a unit and dropping it on site is very attractive. A few examples…

spacebox >>
Closely resembling storage containers of the type used to transport goods by sea and road, spacebox is a Dutch designed:

‘…high specification low-cost, studio-housing unit that can be installed and moved quickly. Site preparation is faster than traditional multi-occupant buildings. Each studio contains a fully specified kitchen, shower-room cum WC. Water, electricity, sewerage and telephone connections are fully integrated at the manufacturing stage.’

These rectangular blocks can be painted a custom colour to blend with their surroundings and can be quickly commissioned on site as they come preprovisioned with all the usual amenities and merely need coupling up to services. They are aimed a the ‘low’ end of the market – student / temporary accommodation.

Lift-Up House >>
Another example is the Lift-up House ia two-bedroom apartment seemingly flown onto the roof of an industrial building in Hoxton, London.

Las Palmas Parasite >>
A striking protuberance on the lift shaft of a building in Rotterdam.

The Las Palmas Parasite was a prototypical house aiming at combining the advantages of prefabricated technology and the unique qualities of tailor-made design. The limitations imposed by the size of the elevator shaft demanded a compact plan and volume.
The object was supported by the walls of the existing building. Services like water supply, sewage and the electric installation had been linked to the existing installations.

loftcube / Werner Aisslinger >>
Werner Aisslinger is a German furniture designer who also designed the loftcube, a ‘modular living unit’ that can be tailored internally and externally to the desires and needs of the residents. The module can then be lifted into place.

If you enjoyed that post, then read these…

What is Thermal Mass?
One of those frequently occurring eco-building terms, thermal mass is often mentioned but rarely defined.

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Zero Carbon House
A term often heard, but of rarely understood, just what does it mean? Some definitions: “within ten years every new home will be a zero-carbon home” Gordon Brown, then Chancellor, in pre-budget report…

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One of the cornerstones of energy efficient, healthy, sustainable building design, the PassivHaus standard aims to provide comfortable year round living conditions through minimal energy expenditure.

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