In many cities, residual spaces like alleyways and abandoned parking lots are largely under-utilized and could be turned into productive gardens, affordable housing or even bike parking. French architect Stéphane Malka, known for this previous proposal for a facade made out of recycled pallets, has created this intriguing project for an open, common space for nomads to temporarily live in.
Calling it a "graffitectural project... rooted in hip hop," Malka's Bow House is a structure that attaches itself to a blank brick wall of a courtyard building in Heerlen, Netherlands. Using a flexible scaffolding system, the structure consists entirely of recycled windows and doors, creating surface that also lights, ventilates and shelters.
Intended as a project that will raise interesting questions about how common and public spaces could be redefined in an age where everything is relentlessly and greedily privatized for profit and the few, the Bow House is a "vertical extension of the property parcel" while positioning itself staunchly in the commons:
Settled as an extension of a public square, the Bow-House showcase a unique kind of shelter. Indeed, this project is an open housing unit, literally a straight continuity of the public space, open to all passersby and welcoming everyone in a light and clear space, stretched out the sidewalks of the streets.
This spontaneous communitary location redefines the housing perception, as it’s a shelter for all to share.
Bow-House is a flexible system, not a mobile house but a light and static, zero-cost housing for nomadic people.
The fundamental idea is not new; a similar typology is the English bothy, a basic shelter on an estate's garden that anyone could use for free, and was typically used by travellers or workers on an estate.
This similar freedom of access in the Bow House is accentuated by the fact that this modern, urban bothy can be entered not by a door, but by an open passageway that leads to a ladder going up.
The open air lounge on the second level, outfitted with an armchair and spare furnishings, offer a view and a place to rest.
We like the fact that recycled materials were used to create this accessory building that is shared, yet provides a bit of privacy for would-be users. Safety and local regulations may be an issue, but as a project that could potentially be replicated anywhere, the Bow House presents some provocative ideas about how shared shelter and a new common area could be created where there once was none. More over at Malka Architecture.