Architecture

Parasitic shelter is available to anyone who needs it

The Bow-House, by French architect Stéphane Malka (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The Bow-House, by French architect Stéphane Malka (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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Exterior of the Bow-House, viewed from street level (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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Exterior of the Bow-House, viewed from street level (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The Bow-House was constructed this year (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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The Bow-House was constructed this year (Photo: Laurent Clement)
Exterior shot of the Bow-House, taken from street level (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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Exterior shot of the Bow-House, taken from street level (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The Bow-House is placed against the exterior wall of a home (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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The Bow-House is placed against the exterior wall of a home (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The Bow-House, by French architect Stéphane Malka (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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The Bow-House, by French architect Stéphane Malka (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The two-story structure is built from a collection of salvaged windows and doors (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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The two-story structure is built from a collection of salvaged windows and doors (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The shelter is supported by scaffolding (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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The shelter is supported by scaffolding (Photo: Laurent Clement)
It doesn't look very comfortable but must be better than sleeping in the street (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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It doesn't look very comfortable but must be better than sleeping in the street (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The Bow-House was constructed this year (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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The Bow-House was constructed this year (Photo: Laurent Clement)
Exterior of the Bow-House, viewed from above (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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Exterior of the Bow-House, viewed from above (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The Bow-House has been built in Heerlen, Netherlands (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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The Bow-House has been built in Heerlen, Netherlands (Photo: Laurent Clement)
Exterior shot of the Bow-House, taken from street level (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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Exterior shot of the Bow-House, taken from street level (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The Bow-House lit at night (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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The Bow-House lit at night (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The shelter is supported by scaffolding (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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The shelter is supported by scaffolding (Photo: Laurent Clement)
Exterior shot of the Bow-House, taken from street level (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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Exterior shot of the Bow-House, taken from street level (Photo: Laurent Clement)
It doesn't look very comfortable but must be better than sleeping in the street (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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It doesn't look very comfortable but must be better than sleeping in the street (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The Bow-House lit at night (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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The Bow-House lit at night (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The Bow-House was part-inspired by the song "The World is Yours" (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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The Bow-House was part-inspired by the song "The World is Yours" (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The Bow-House lit at night (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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The Bow-House lit at night (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The shelter contains a bed, dining area, and even a small patio area (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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The shelter contains a bed, dining area, and even a small patio area (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The floors are navigated via ladder (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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The floors are navigated via ladder (Photo: Laurent Clement)
What appears to be a lounge area (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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What appears to be a lounge area (Photo: Laurent Clement)
Even though it's made largely from doors, there's no door blocking the entrance (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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Even though it's made largely from doors, there's no door blocking the entrance (Photo: Laurent Clement)
Malka intends for it to be available for any passing person (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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Malka intends for it to be available for any passing person (Photo: Laurent Clement)
It doesn't look very comfortable but must be better than sleeping in the street (Photo: Laurent Clement)
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It doesn't look very comfortable but must be better than sleeping in the street (Photo: Laurent Clement)

Can "guerrilla architecture" be used to promote radical collective ideas? Such is the intriguing premise behind Bow-House. Created by French architect Stéphane Malka, who has a keen interest in using his skills to help reclaim neglected inner-city areas for those less fortunate, the project comprises a shelter built from recycled materials that is available to anyone who needs a place to stay.

Constructed earlier this year, the two-story structure rests against the exterior wall of an inner-city house in Heerlen, Netherlands, and is supported by scaffolding. The primary building material is a collection of salvaged windows and doors of various shapes and sizes, which have been assembled together and still open inwards, outwards and slide or pivot, depending on their type. Interestingly, there are no doors blocking the entrance.

The shelter contains a bed, dining area, and even a small patio area (Photo: Laurent Clement)
The shelter contains a bed, dining area, and even a small patio area (Photo: Laurent Clement)

As you might expect, the interior is rather basic and includes an aluminum ladder which offers access between floors. There's also a mattress, dining area, and even a small patio area, but it's not clear if there's any other amenities available – still, it has to be better than spending the night out on the street.

"This methodology seeks to promote public participation as an act of resistance against urban restrictions," says Malka. "It is a colonization of neglected public spaces by the participation of a non-specialized labor collective that elaborates on prefabricated and hijacked construction systems."

Source: Stéphane Malka

3 comments
Robert Walther
Wow - nothing like hackneyed, bolshevik rhetoric to entice the ...what?
Readout Noise
"as an act of resistance against urban restrictions" Yes, "urban restrictions" which in a country like the Netherlands, were put in place for good reason, and by democratically elected local authorities. This architect is no democrat, and I suspect his structures are illegal.
Don Duncan
I don't see hijacking or parasites as socially beneficial. But if I was forced to choose between this and bureaucratic regulation, it is no contest. The individual I can deal with, the bureaucrat is an all consuming destructive monster that has no place in a civilized world.