Written by: Alek Hidell
Nowadays, if you are looking to buy or rent an apartment or condo in a metropolitan area, you probably won’t be surprised to find out prices are up and availability is down. That being the case, ingenuity is pushing some creative individuals to find alternative means of housing in the most unusual of places.
French architect Stephane Malka has designed a shelter made from discarded and recycled windows and doors. The shelter is supported by a scaffold system and rests against the side of a existing building. The shelter called a Bow-House is an example of Guerrilla Architecture, which typically utilizes old buildings and adapts them to new purposes. Guerrilla Architecture is a new social movement which hopes to bring awareness and responsibility to housing design which makes efficient use of space and is available to everyone.
While this type of shelter is lacking many common amenities, it is a great alternative to spending the night on the streets. Homelessness is a massive problem in the US and every major metropolitan area has dilapidated areas which could be used to construct these parasitic shelters. The use of salvaged materials makes the construction of a Bow-House fairly inexpensive. Typical homeless shelters are not a fun place to go. Many times, the young prey on the old and weak, making them an inhospitable alternative to life on the streets. The Bow-House and other similar type structures made from shipping containers or other recycled materials make a cheap alternative to traditional housing that can be used for many things.
Malka sees this type of construction as “graffitectural” as these shelters can pop up literally overnight in any urban area, comparable to the street art of such artists as Banksy. The one thing we can learn from this type of progressive housing is that, providing a warm bed for someone in need, doesn’t have to cost a fortune. As the amount of homeless increases on the streets of our country daily, alternative methods of housing need to be explored and the Bow-House and similar type structures are a great way to address the problem without breaking the bank.