As room for new developments in urban settings quickly diminishes—and with it affordable housing options for cities’ denizens—so gives rise to aerial urbanism, wherein architects like Ecuador's El Sindicato Arquitectura have designed a minimal A-frame hut that smartly perches atop apartment buildings or high-rises. The minimalist, 39-square-foot unit aims to provide a solution to housing crises in increasingly pressurized urban areas.
For less than the price of a car, the 4-piece, timber and steel prefabricated structure packs a punch: Inside is a kitchenette, a lofted bed, a workspace, and a bathroom—basically the essentials for an individual or young couple who want to stay in a city, but are willing to live in an off-grid way. What's better, the home can be oriented for breathtaking views, one-upping those renting expensive terrestrial apartments below.
The small-footprint design makes use of in-place infrastructure by attaching to water and sewage lines provided by the building on which it sits, hence the word "parasitic." The project could be titled "Symbiotic House," since it's addressing a problem for cities rather than creating one. But the given name cuts, like it's ribbing the bureaucratic slog plaguing momentum of practical housing solutions.
For the architects, the project's impetus was charged by a quote from former president of Uruguay José Mujica: "My definition of poor are those that need too much, because those that need too much are never satisfied." And the result is clearly that—a feather-light, no-frills concept that walks the talk of a less-is-more ethos. If the price tag for the first model is $11,000, it should only get more approachable with scale. In the near future, we may all be ditching noisy neighbors for simple living and a skyline view.
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