Palmas Roof View

green exhibition house

green exhibition house

In 2001, a bright green object sitting on top of the lift shaft of the former Las Palmas warehouse served a three-dimensional logo, visible far and wide, for its host building, the large, industrial spaces of which were temporarily used for various exhibitions during Rotterdam’s year as European Capital of Culture. One of the exhibitions, Parasites, presented designs of small-scale objects intended for unused urban sites, making ‘parasitic’ use of their existing infrastructure. The exhibition was curated and organized by Mechthild Stuhlmacher and Rien Korteknie, involving an international group of architects. Taking advantage of the enterprising atmosphere of the year of culture, one of these designs was built to full scale. The roof of the warehouse, amidst the varied, spectacular roofscapes of the Port of Rotterdam, proved an ideal location.

*Parasites: prototypes for advanced ready-made amphibious small-scale individual temporary ecological dwellings

location: Wilheminakade, Rotterdam
design: 2000-2001
realisation: 2001
client: Stichting Parasite Foundation
contractor: Jasper Kerkhofs, Christian Dörschug (timber assembly)
photography: Anne Bousema, Errol Sawyer, Daniel Nicholas, Rien Korteknie, Christian Kahl
Palmas From Roof

The Las Palmas Parasite was a prototype dwelling aiming to combine the advantages of prefabricated technology and the unique qualities of bespoke design. The limitations imposed by the size of the lift shaft and the strength of its walls necessitated a compact plan and volume. Services like water supply, sewage and electrics were connected to existing installations.

The walls, floors and roof were constructed of solid laminated timber panels made of European softwood. The elements were prefabricated, pre-cut to size and delivered on site as a complete building packet. Assembly on site took just a few days - despite the difficult and exceptionally windy location.

Palmas Section


Palmas Level Zero
Palmas Level One

1 bedroom
2 shower
3 toilet
4 kitchen 
5 living room
6 roof terrace

The Las Palmas Parasite was designed as an exhibition object to illustrate, as clearly as possible, the objectives behind the exhibition, summed up by the acronym Parasites.

Like a parasitic object, it was supported by the concrete walls of the elevator shaft. The water pipes, sewerage and power lines were connected to the installations of the existing building.

Palmas Interior Pink Chair
Palmas Upstairs

Inside, all the walls and ceilings were left untreated. The outside was cladded in painted Finnish plywood. The window openings were cut out of the wood as simple holes, using timber slats as frames. The windows were constructed as fixed glazing in combination with closed, wooden ventilation shutters.

Palmas Staircase

The building system CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) was used in the Netherlands for the first time, a discovery both for the architects and for the many enthusiastic visitors. The interior surfaces were left untreated and uncovered, the exterior was cladded in large sheets of painted plywood. Openings were cut out as simple holes. Window frames were avoided by using a combination of fixed double glazing and operable timber shutters detailed in the most direct and simplest way possible.

Windows varied in size, character and position, celebrating the spectacular and highly varied views from its location, surrounded by new urban developments and port activities.

Palmas Front Shore
Palmas Construction 1
Palmas Construction 4
Palmas Construction 5
Palmas Construction 6
Palmas Construction 7
Palmas Garden
Palmas Green Wood
Palmas Bird Eye
Palmas Scale

The Parasite was simultaneously a statement on the scale of the material and the scale of the city

Palmas South Elevation
Palmas Road
Palmas Boat
Palmas Boat 2
Palmas Boat 3

Despite its temporary character, the structure remained in its location and was used for numerous activities until the summer of 2005, when the Parasite had to be removed due to the renovation of the Las Palmas warehouse. The Parasite then had to wait several years for a new host, in spite of numerous attempts and initiatives. Since 2014 the Parasite has been adopted by artists who continue to use the experimental structure on a historically significant and green peninsula in the Port of Rotterdam.

Palmas Front