Artist Michael Rakowitz’s ongoing ParaSITE project provides portable inflatable shelters for homeless people. ParaSITE shelters utilize the vents and ventilation systems from buildings for both temperature and warmth.
When warm air leaves the building, it inflates the shelter’s double membrane and simultaneously heats it. ParaSITE inflatable homes have been built and used by over 30 homeless people in Boston and Cambridge, MA and New York City.
The temporary owners of these homes got a lot of questions from confused police officers who weren’t sure whether the ParaSITE inflatable shelters were breaking the law. The structures were designed to be more like a sleeping bag or a body extension than a tent, however, and were thereby deemed legal. What a lucky loophole!