Since 1985, each year a European Union city has been designated the ‘European Cultural Capital‘ – ‘a chance to showcase its cultural life and cultural development’. In 2001 Rotterdam served as ‘capital’, and the city therefore played host to various special cultural attractions and exhibitions. One such exhibition, held within an empty industrial warehouse, was entitled Parasites* – presenting designs of small-scale objects for unused urban sites which were making ‘parasitic’ use of existing infrastructure. One these was built, to serve as a logo for the exhibit – the ‘Las Palmas Parasite’ by Korteknie Stuhlmacher Architecten.
Designed as a prototype house, meant to showcase the combination of prefabrication technologies and ‘tailor-made design’, the ‘Las Palmas Parasite’ was constructed on the protruding elevator shaft of the exhibition warehouse – which dictated the size/shape of the plan. The ‘object’ was constructed on the roof of the existing building, and in true parasitic form it drew all of its services – water, sewage, and electricity – from the warehouse, while also drawing on its support structurally.
Walls, floors and roof had been made of solid laminated timber panels made from European waste wood. The elements were prefabricated, precut to size and delivered on site as a complete building package. The assemblage on site took just a few days – despite the difficult and exceptionally windy location.
The interior surfaces have been left untreated and uncovered, the exterior has been clad with painted plywood in large sheets. Openings are cut out as simple holes. Window frames have been avoided by using a combination of fixed double glazing and operable timber shutters detailed in the most direct and simple way possible. Windows vary in size, character and position, celebrating the spectacular and highly varied views from its location surrounded by new urban developments and harbor activities.
While only meant as a temporary installation, the parasite remained attached from 2001-2005 – when it was removed due to the planned renovation of the warehouse. It is currently being held in storage, ‘waiting for new uses and sites’. Bring it over to the MNP dojo, my ninjas!
::all images, quotes, and info from Korteknie Stuhlmacher Architecten::