2022

MCHAP

Parasitic House

El Sindicato Arquitectura.

Quito, Ecuador

April 2019

PRIMARY AUTHOR

Xavier Duque, Nicolás Viteri, María Reinoso

CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR

Pedro Calle, Sergio Calderon

CLIENT

Nicolás Viteri

PHOTOGRAPHER

Andrés Villota

OBJECTIVE

Casa Parasito seeks a new way of living in cities. Therefore, the proposal starts from the use of the existing infrastructure: settling parasitic dwellings on flat terraces, taking advantage of countless underused urban spaces, creating a new habitable layer at a very low cost. And although it can be built on land without pre-existing buildings, we propose that ideally its construction be on terraces of structurally suitable urban buildings to which the water and electricity networks are connected.
Casa Parasito is a minimal design object, focused on solving the basic needs of habitability; ensuring the comforts of a home in a reduced area. It is developed in a A type facade and is conceptualized from the optimal space to inhabit according to the activity it is carried out. A central rectangle is proposed where all the activities that are done while standing and from where all the
utilitarian spaces such as the kitchen, bathroom, bed, storage, desk, etc. are accessed. All these utilitarian spaces adjacent to the central rectangle are located in triangles and rhomboids that, apart from containing the activity, provide stability to the structure. We understand the importance of personalization with respect to the user and their needs, and for this reason, the
project is designed to be modified and personalized. The idea is that it can be replicated by anyone, anywhere, safely and freely, that's why everything is open source and copyleft

CONTEXT

Latin American cities have grown under “development” models that promote the construction and speculation of the fringe instead of consolidating what already exists. As citizens, we have not questioned how the city is built, nor who benefits from that growth, we just copy models of "supposed development" and we do not consider innovative responses in what already exists.
Given this situation, efforts have been made to densify cities through the construction of larger-scale buildings than the current ones. This means that to densify, we need, on the one hand, the demolition of the existing infrastructure and therefore, neighborhoods memory loss and their constructions (whether or not they are patrimonial). And on the other hand, substantial investments that can cover the cost of acquiring land and construction, which in the case of buildings, reach capital that most inhabitants do not have. This type of densification not only underestimates the real values of constructions, it also fosters gentrification processes that end in the displacement of people who lived in densified places to the periphery due to lack of resources.
That is why Casa Parasito was born from questioning the current situation of architecture and the city; and in turn to think about the change that the planet needs to overcome the environmental crisis. It is a question of a small-scale action that takes advantage of the present resources and not in macro solutions that mean gigantic economic investments.

PERFORMANCE

Are all the square meters that we build necessary to live comfortably? Are we building only to comply with a status quo imposed by the consumer society? The planet has reached its breaking point, the environmental crisis reaches a state of no return. Our lifestyle must change, stop consuming as much as possible and live with what we need. Casa Parasito is an option for conscious, efficient and responsible consumption. A small-scale action that adds to the global actions to face the environmental crisis. It is a change of mentality in society: to live well with less, and stop being prisoners of consumption. It is a question for every human being how much each one needs to inhabit. Paraphrasing Seneca: poor is not the one who has little but the one who needs a lot.
Thus, with only about one-sixth of the investment that a young adult or couple without children would make to meet their basic housing needs, we offer a socially, environmentally and economically responsible solution that, apart from being of great use to the user, benefits the city. The modulation and the conscious use of materials help us reduce the amount of waste and decrease
construction times, it also allows us to grow the house in a modular way and to be used in different layouts according to the needs of areas and volumes of the user and their family composition. In this way, the replication of the idea of Casa Parasito not only generates an alternative to irregular urban growth towards the periphery, it also identifies and empowers people with economic, social and environmental awareness who are looking for an alternative option for decent housing.