Some time ago we received an email from Marco Casagrande from Finland-based architecture firm Casagrande Laboratory about the very interesting Ruin Academy, an independent cross-over architectural research center in the urban core area of Taipei, Taiwan. The Academy, that is run in co-operation between the Finland based Casagrande Laboratory and Taiwanese JUT Foundation for Arts & Architecture, aims to “re-think the industrial city and the moden man in a box” by unfolding a research program that focuses on the so-called Third Generation City — the ruin of the industrial city. The research and design tasks move freely in-between architecture, urban design, environmental art and other disciplines of art and science within the general framework of built human environment.
“The 3G city is an organic matrix of nature mixed with human construction. The balance of dominating the no-man’s land is ever changing. Local Knowledge knows this. It is light on the surface but with solid roots. A city sweating humanity and constantly wiping the sweat away. The architectural control is in a process of giving up in order to let nature to step in. So far it is not giving up – it is too lazy. Architectural control will be given up. Modernism is lost and the industrial machine will become organic. This happens in Taipei and this is what we study. Ruin Academy is an organic machine.”
Ruin Academy takes place in an abandoned 5-story apartment building in central Taipei, that could be considered an example of compost of the modern city. Some simple design interventions turned the building into a rough and exciting laboratory for the research project, or a “voluntary refugee camp”, as the iniators call it. All the interior walls of the building and all the windows were removed in order to grow bamboo and vegetables inside the house. The entire building was penetrated with 6 inch holes in order to let the rain inside. Furthermore, mahogany made ad-hoc dormitories were created for professors and students to sleep and work in, and the 5th floor of the building equipped with a public sauna. Click here for more pictures of the building’s interior.