Naturally Parasitic

By Denver Sells

Parasites are an interesting aspect of nature.  However, they are still a naturally occurring organism, therefore why would we not have parasitic building forms.  This seems like such a new concept to me as we were going over it in class.  Why should this come as a shock or as something new?  But I think it is something that has only just recently come to realization among the architectural community.  This puzzled me.  I could not understand why this would be that way, but then I thought about why we seek shelter, and it is to create this harmonious space that makes us feel comfortable and safe.  When you add on a parasitic piece, to humans, this does not usually bring to mind something positive, like something not healthy.  Thus, when you add that to a building, our first reaction would be something that is not positive.  However, as evident by the sites we have seen in lecture, they can be something whimsical and interesting.
Maybe for some, this represents another aspect of desired home building in that we strive to have our own building, if not that at least our own space that is ours, but a part of the whole.  In a parasitic structure, we are making room for ourselves.  It is meant to latch on to the side of something else, whether it be another building or the side of a bridge support, either way, it is something that we do not own, that is dependent on someone or something else.  As humans we do not want to depend on others, it goes against our primal desire to adapt and overcome and gain success at what we do.  In this way, we are almost settling for latching on to something else in order to make our piece.
I’m not saying that these have to be boring, on the contrary, a lot of the parasitic designs I have come across in research are very interesting, inspiring and thought provoking.  For instance, in the image below of the white sided building with the parasitic “shack” added on, this is something that is an art piece instead of a usable space, but despite that it still tugs at our imagination whether someone could live there.  It is almost a sense of wonder in the way that if someone did live there, could they live there life like normal and not know they were randomly moved and added several stories above the ground onto the side of a building.  In the other photo, the building is attached to the side of a bridge support.  In my opinion this is a brilliant addition and could be something that could be seriously explored, especially in densely populated areas such as New York City.
Overall, the parasitic architecture lecture has been the most thought provoking discussion out of all of them.  I can’t say that I understand it more than the others, or that it makes more sense, but it is more interesting in the aspect that it presented more questions than any of the others.  I left lecture more puzzled than any other, and it has taken me a lot longer to be able to think of how to respond to such a different idea of architecture.  I love the idea and I want to try to incorporate it into more of my design thoughts as I move forward.

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