Michael Rakowitz is not an architect, but he has probably made more houses than many architects in the last ten years. Architects should be envious of the artist's production and vision. He is working with the margins of society. His project Parasite uses a building's heat exhaust to inflate plastic sheeting, creating dwellings for the homeless. For Rakowitz the project is about community involvement as well as dwelling design. He is responsive to the needs of his "clients."
Courtesy Michael Rakowitz
Bill S.’s paraSITE shelter. He requested as many windows as possible, because “homeless people don’t have privacy issues, but they do have security issues. We want to see potential attackers, we want to be visible to the public.” Six windows are placed at eye level for when Bill is seated and six smaller windows for when Bill is reclining.
The article on these structure at World Changing highlights the social impact of his projects. The social agenda is remincient of Archigram, Archizoom and the social idealist and critics of the sixties,where the concept of building was challanged to mean utopian spaces, inflatable huts, or technological phenomena in the guise of a natural environment.
Copyright David Green - Courtesy Archigram
Projects like the living pod,above, imagines a green field condition where the building tapped into site resources to make its own place. Parasite deals with the roughness and tactics of city dwelling. These structures are deployable in the aims of allowing their inhabitants to move when they are at the limits of the law.
At The Functionality we want to encourage this type of tactical thinking. Architects, artists, urban designers, even graphic designers need to re-examine how we will approach the city, our suburbs and even our housing as the economic and environmental conditions unfold. We think the sooner we start the better off we will be.