Like so many of its neighboring European capitals, Moscow still bears architectural evidence of war. One clue? Frequent empty lots faced by two “blind” party walls, as obvious as missing teeth. Some cities, like Berlin, have rehabbed these gaps into parks or shared gardens. But Za Bor Architects, a 10-year-old firm operating out of Moscow, have something else in mind: they’re hoping to infill one of the gaps with modular office space.
Za Bor were rethinking their current workspace when they got the idea for what they call a Parasite Office. Using steel shapes clamped to the adjacent party walls, their proposed structure would hang suspended over the street, accessible from a narrow stair at one edge. Inside, three levels of modular office space are laterally stabilized by a steel-framed facade. The trusses are infilled with lightweight polycarbonate, giving the “parasite” an otherworldly glow at night. It’s unclear how occupants would gain access to HVAC and other services (I’m guessing a lot of trips to the bodega), but at the very least, a shallow plan and natural daylighting would help to light the spaces.
The architects say the project is currently in construction administration. “In Russia, the process of approval of construction documents is very difficult,” explains Za Bor’s Vadim Costyrin. It some ways, though, the Parasite Office is a sensitive solution to an old urban condition. Because it never touches down to the ground floor, pedestrians can still access the interior courtyard. It’s fun to imagine such a scheme working in other cities, too, where real estate shortages are rampant–a New York transformed by moth-like offices stretching over the streets, or a Chicago whose alleys are infested with glowing white webs.