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Exploring Why, Oh Why, People Are Putting Houses on Roofs

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With a few staggering exceptions, urban populations continue to skyrocket, which makes carving out and erecting new residences a highly lucrative enterprise. Dwellings are cropping up all over the place, in churches, water towers, seed silos, and, yes, atop buildings not typically used as suburban neighborhood sprawl. Take, for instance, the displaced Cape Cod-style home plunked on an NYC apartment building in the city's East Village (above). A commenter on the original Scouting New York post says the cottage is attached to a townhouse, where it serves as guest quarters. Considering guest houses are near unheard-of in Manhattan, it's no real surprise that a wealthy, zoning-law-evading individual would build an outgrowth, though its cottage-y aesthetic is a bit inexplicable. More examples below.

? Of course, not every house on roof can be reasoned away with wealth and overcrowding. Artistry (maybe?) explains the above example, a three-quarter-size replica of a home in Rhode Island, which South Korean artist Do Ho Suh posted off the edge of a building at UC San Diego. Fallen Star tips precariously, and yet the interior is fully furnished and open for visitors. OK, so what exactly does this all mean? Well, in the artist's words: "When you see a fallen star, it means that it fell from the sky from a different universe...It's something that's very out of context." Huh. Well then.

? Developers in China—home to the world's most wonderfully weird architecture—have built suburban houses atop a mall in Zhuzhou. Apparently this is how one finds space in crowded cities for well-lawned and gabled McMansions.

? Tumbling onto Vienna's MuseumsQuarter is House Attack, an upside-down single-family home adhered to the city's Museum of Modern Art. According to the museum's website, Austrian sculptor Erwin Wurm often defigures symbols of mundanity. Here, "the petty bourgeois hits like a bomb in the façade of the museum." Obviously.

? An identical version of Wurm's Vienna House Attack also teeters off the headquarters of construction corporation Strabag Slovakia in Bratislava, Slovakia. What's that old adage about sticking to what you're good at?

? London firm FAT built this grab-bag of housing styles in Middlesborough, England, as part of a masterplan that would, according to Dezeen, also include a "building shaped like a toaster and an apartment block resembling a stack of Jenga pieces." Unfortunately, the housing implosion of 2007 stalled the rest of plans indefinitely, so all that remains are these cartoonish Community in a Cube developments.

· The East Village Roof-Top Beach House [Scouting NY]
· Brutalism Collides With Suburbia on UC San Diego Campus [Curbed National]
· Chinese Home Builders Erect Suburban Houses on Mall Roof [Curbed National]
· House attack. [Anarchitecture]
· Strabag's Art-Filled Slovakia Heaquarters is Topped With an Upside-Down House [Inhabitat]
· Community in a Cube by Fat [Dezeen]
· All Architectural Craziness posts [Curbed National]