The closer you come to the center of a city the more difficult it is to find unused space available for new construction, except perhaps at the cost of all-too-valuable public parks and other civic places. Building above and below bridges is thus of increasing interest to engaged urban designers around the world.

Like products on shelves, this modular housing system is designed by h3ar to accommodate homes that are plugged into a grid, occupied for a period of time and then removed when necessary. Much like cargo container architecture and other standardized systems, this design is meant for an ever-more-mobile as well as increasingly crowded world.

The location on the water is also no accident: multistory structures become much more accessible by boat-borne cranes already passing along the river, or modified container ships. Aside from a core steel framework each building operates independently and can be pulled back out and shipped somewhere else as needed.

Here’s some more info about this interesting and promising concept from Habitable Bridges Revisited:

“Ryszard rychlicki of polish architectural firm h3ar received third prize in the london 800 competition for his concept ‘houses on the shelf’. Rychlicki based his project on the notion if we treat a house like a product with a programmed product life, after the expiry of the guarantee period we may simply throw away.  his design for london bridge is one which can be continually updated. the open work construction fulfils the function of shelves for houses as products, which after being used up (worn out) are replaced with new ones. mobile houses in the form of boxes – are executed from recycled materials and also glass and wood. due to the mobility of the entire layout premise the city may decide on its structure – number and type of homes in a given time.”