Visible from the Rotterdam waterfront, the Las Palmas Parasite by Korteknie Stuhlmacher Architecten hangs like a day-glo green treehouse atop an abandoned warehouse. The structure was erected as part of the annual tradition of cities taking turns being crowned "European Cultural Capital", and hosting a bevy of architectural and cultural exhibits, displays and projects. When it was Rotterdam’s turn, the city welcomed a project called Parasites, which brought in additions like Las Palmas that renewed unused urban spaces.
As the featured project of the exhibition, Las Palmas is a protype prefabricated home. Perched atop the warehouse’s elevator shaft, the fluorescent yellow residence hangs on the shoulder of the elevator’s rooftop mechanical structure. The two-story structure is accessible by stairs that drop down into the elevator shaft. The shape of the parasite addition was a reaction to the shape of the mechanical room.
As the label “parasite” indicates, Las Palmas siphoned all of its utilities from the main building. Lines running into Las Palmas carried the warehouse’s water, sewage and electricity. The parasite also depends on the warehouse for structural support.
Las Palmas’ roof and floor were constructed entirely of laminated timber left over from industrial waste. The interior wood was left raw, with a natural and airy feeling. Irregular windows dot the outside, offering various views from the building’s perch. Being a prefab, the pieces were cut to be transported and fit together like a puzzle on site. When assembled, it was hoisted to the roof via crane, where it remained for several years after the exhibition closed. Las Palmas is now awaiting its next host building in storage, as the warehouse is undergoing renovations.