You can’t stop progress, and why would you? Living in a housing pod the size of a broom closet is definitely what most people envision as the dream lifestyle for their descendants.
National File has previously reported on the vision of the future gleefully propagated by the media and large corporations, from entomophagy and cannibalism to beer made from feces-filled sewer water.
We’ve now gotten a glimpse at the domiciles where future humans will be indulging in their cockroach steak and toilet beer: a new type of housing called ‘parasite pods.’
Parasite pods are part of a broader design subclass called parasitic architecture, defined as temporary structures that feed off energy from a ‘host building’ to provide power, utilities, and structural support. Some aesthetically disturbing examples can be seen here.
One such futuristic concept, called Flux Haus, is designed by graduates of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), and presented as a humane replacement for Hong Kong’s infamous cage houses.
In the IAAC design, pods would move on rails, engulfing the outside around the surface of preexisting buildings.
The project was described by IAAC graduate Kammil Carranza as way for ‘the user to be his own house, by linking the robots to neuronal AI networks that allow the nanorobots to replicate anything that the user wants.’
An even more bizarre concept by Malaysian designer Haseef Rafiei consists of a skyscraper equipped with a massive 3D printer, that would print out microhome modules as the structure continues to expand ad infinitum.
These concepts may seem far-fetched, but they are rooted in postmodern design philosophies that are already in practice today, as architects struggle with the issue of overpopulation. Many are also terrified by the myriad proclamations that the Earth is being ravaged by man-made climate change.
Some far less tech-based examples of microhomes include Hong Kong’s ‘mosquito homes,’ which average out at 180 square feet (for reference, this is barely larger than the 160 square feet of an average New York City parking spot).
Another option is to live in a storage container. In England, this is already seen as a viable solution to homelessness and immigration-related population explosion, and families are dropped off at converted storage units by the dozens.
Storage container housing is also cropping up in the United States at a breakneck pace, including in this author’s own neighborhood.
For those seeking a cozier living situation, an architect named James Law has designed ‘houses’ made from concrete water pipes:
Constructed out of low cost and readily available 2.5m diameter concrete water pipe, the design utilizes the strong concrete structure to house a micro-living apartment for one/two persons with fully kitted out living, cooking and bathroom spaces inside 100 sq.ft.
The water pipe may be a bit too roomy, but as concept artists continue to work on more minihome designs and parasite pods, we may eventually reach a nirvana where humans can simply subsist in embryonic containment tanks à la “The Matrix.“