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Parasites: Concepts for Small-Scale Interventions in the Existing City Fabric

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At the Architecture Foundation, 30 Bury Street, London SW1 until 19 November

'Parasites' is an acronym: prototypes for amphibious, readymade, advanced, small-scale, individual, temporary, ecological houses, writes Andrew Mead . This absorbing exhibition at the Architecture Foundation presents more than two dozen of them, from a range of young European practices, in the form of models, and on the walls (in photographs by Anne Bousema) suggests the kinds of site for which they are appropriate: 'not only on the physical edge of a city but also on the figurative fringe such as industrial wasteland, the flat roofs of existing buildings, neglected parks and allotments.'

Unlike the conceptions of the modern city that dominate this week's review pages, 'Parasites' presents a light, pragmatic urbanism that accommodates itself to the existing instead of trying totally to recast it.

In his essay in the excellent catalogue, The City of Small Things (£12), Irenee Scalbert sees the show as a riposte to Rem Koolhaas' exaltation of 'bigness' in S, M, L, XL ; it celebrates instead a human-scale city of small objects and interventions.

With these clustered models, the Architecture Foundation has the air of an experimental workshop - but one with a real sense of purpose. For these often enterprising designs will actually be built, migrating from the European housing exhibition Bo01 in Malmo next summer to Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

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