Parasites

As housing pressures increase in our major urban centres, the role of the circular economy and the reuse of existing buildings receives sharper focus. A report published by the BBC this week considers the role that ‘parasitic’ buildings can play in addressing this issue, and points to the SHED Project and paraSITE as good examples. Essentially this involves creating what are largely low-cost temporary structures within the curtilage of either unusable permanent structures, such as heritage buildings, or those structures awaiting a more permanent long-term use such as development sites. Parasitic buildings can exist on the roofs of other buildings, and for instance as boxes within the envelope of larger properties. Tending towards modular design, these structures can be erected in as little as a day, with little or no alteration required to the host structure. Whilst these might not be suitable for everyone (it takes a sense of adventure to live in a glass box in the middle of a disused factory), they do address a market for temporary accommodation in response to demand surges. This could for instance be a piece of project work, an office decant during a short refurb or a spike in homelessness that a local authority couldn’t otherwise satisfy at short notice. For landowners, this is potential source of income that would otherwise be challenging to secure without jeopardising longer-term plans.