Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB

Will 'Parasitic Architecture' transform placemaking in cities?

A simple yet radical scheme to introduce low-cost housing to dense cities could have major implications for placemaking in our urban environments.

French studio Stéphane Malka Architecture have been creating prefabricated living spaces which lean on and extend from existing buildings in Paris, cantilevering over streets at unusual angles.

The concept – nicknamed ‘parasitic architecture’ – is an environmentally-friendly and economical solution to creating living space in urban areas short of space for new developments.

“The idea is working against the urban sprawl that kills our social links,” said Malka in a statement. “It’s also a contemporary way to discover new perspectives of a city. We have accessed a new Paris above the horizon.”

Malka’s project, called 3BOX, takes advantage of a new city law allowing extensions to old buildings being renovated in Paris.

Steel, wood and glass boxes are quickly forged piece-by-piece in workshops before being bolted together on site and attached to their ‘host’ building.

The architects partnered with construction firm Les Toits du Monde (Roofs of the World) – which provides engineering services for landlords in return for the right to attach the 3BOX structures to their buildings.

The scheme allows the creation of modular housing that is 40 per cent cheaper than the real estate market price and can be adapted according to the needs of users.

While so far used only for housing in Paris, there are many potential leisure uses for 3BOX-style volumes, which could bring low-cost music venues, eateries, bars, shops, sports facilities and museums to busy cities without the need to first tear down old buildings to create space.

Malka has previously proposed such a scheme in 2014. His P9 project visualised art galleries, recording studios, shops, playgrounds, canteens and nightclubs housed in modular volumes attached to public spaces, including bridges.

Paris  architecture  design  placemaking  leisure  culture  Parasitic Architecture  Studio Malka 
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A simple yet radical scheme to introduce low-cost housing to dense cities could have major implications for placemaking in our urban environments. French studio Stéphane Malka Architecture have been creating prefabricated living spaces which lean on and extend from existing buildings in Paris, cantilevering over streets at unusual angles. The concept – nicknamed ‘parasitic architecture’ – is an environmentally-friendly and economical solution to creating living space in urban areas short
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‘Parasitic architecture’ is an environmentally-friendly and economical solution to creating living space in urban areas short of space for new developments / Malka Architecture
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Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB