Parasitic Art: 11 Installations Taking Over Buildings Like Organic Growths

Some art just can’t be contained, even by the buildings that house it, expanding beyond these constrictions like alien appendages to burst through windows, wrap around columns and slink onto the sidewalks below. Inorganic materials take on the qualities of living things, manifesting as artificial parasitic growths as they cling to the facades of buildings in architectural installations that take on lives of their own.

Hyperbolic Installation by Crystal Wagner, Poland




An alien-like growth wraps itself around the corner facade of a historic building in Lodz, Poland, stretching tentacle-like appendages in shades of vivid pink, blue and purple. The site-specific work by Crystal Wagner is made from woven strips of plastic.

Wood Tentacles by Henrique Oliveira




Wooden forms expand to fill entire interior spaces, taking over light root systems to push through windows and doorways and into the streets, or in one case, to act as a secret system of interior tunnels. Artist Henrique Oliveira of Brazil typically installs his organic sculptures in gallery spaces, but one particular work has it bursting out of the confines of Casa dos Leoes in Porto Alegre.

10,000 Bats on the Nature Concert Hall




Thousands of bats stream straight out of the front door of the Nature Concert Hall at Zalenieki Manor in Latvia, forming a surreal cloud on its lawn. Architecture firm DJA took inspiration from the unpredictable formations found in nature when assembling the congregation of 10,000 paper bats, which create a tunnel effect when viewed from below.

Vortex by 1024 Architecture, Bordeaux, France





Strips of wood have taken it upon themselves to escape one building and grip the exterior of another, streaming toward it in a manner suggestive of autonomy. ‘Vortex’ is a generative light sculpture by 1024 Architecture almost completely made of scaffolding, installed on the Darwin Ecosystem Project’s green building in Bordeaux, France. “Merging organic materials with new technologies, this hybrid architectural artwork wraps around and embraces the footbridge between the complex’s two buildings, revealing and enhancing the venue’s dynamic energy while working as a live visualizer of energy consumption.”

Biografias by Alicia Martin, Madrid




An ornate second-floor window seems to vomit thousands of books onto the sidewalk below in this installation by artist Alicia Martin, as if they, too, are hoping to escape the building. The effect is enhanced by the movement of the pages as they’re blown by the wind. Martin has created similar site-specific installations in buildings all over her home country of Spain.

Glowing Star in an Unfinished Building by Jun Ong



Like some kind of alien life form that started out tiny and suddenly expanded, impaling an entire building upon itself, this five-story star made of light by Jun Ong suggests rapid growth that could not be contained. The artist envisions the LED sculpture as a physical manifestation of a glitch.