The "ultra ruin" is a work of modern architecture and unusual preservation built in and around an abandoned brick farmhouse in the jungle of Taipei. From certain angles it appears as fragments of a decayed structure overtaken by vegetation; from other perspectives it resembles the high-design spaces of a boutique hotel. The design, by Finnish architect Marco Casagrande and the Casagrande Laboratory, is meant to embrace the effects of nature. According to the architect, the new structure has been improvised, responding to the existing ruin and the demands of the natural setting.
Timber was chosen as a material that links directly to the setting and much of what was used is local mahogany, camphor and cypress, including a walkway to the house made from mahogany boards. Wood also has very practical value in this climate, being used in screens, pergolas or open slats that encourage the free movement of air. Brick buildings are much less conducive to such liberal ventilation, which is crucial in this climate, and to this type of free-form design. The house has multi-functional spaces, rather than rooms for designated purposes, and has minimal energy requirements. Though it is a private house built for a single family, it will also be used for different kinds of gatherings.
And rather than digging out an access road for the work, all of the building materials were carried in by hand from the main road, all of which required "a huge effort," according to the architect. The evolution of the project also followed an organic process, Casagrande says, beginning with a discussion with the client in 2009 which focused on the idea of making a table in the open space for meetings and proceeded to include more rooms for various activities.
The "Ultra Ruin" also uses metal, stones and reclaimed bricks to create the array of indoor and outdoor spaces. The original model for the project was exhibited at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2009.
Source: Casagrande Laboratory
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