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Marco Casagrande’s Blog

RUINS OF THE FUTURE

  • Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 10:36:28 AM
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An interview with Marco Casagrande on the significance of ruins by Liva Dudareva / STRELKA Institute, Future Urbanism

http://futureurbanism.strelka.com/interview/ruins-of-future/


Interactive floor plan: Apelle House, Finland, by Marco Casagrande

  • Friday, May 02, 2014 - 8:26:12 AM
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Apelle by Marco Casagrande

Dan Rubinstein / Wallpaper*

Designing with a nautical theme can be a tricky business. But in the case of the Apelle house in Karis, in southern Finland, the reference is acceptable. By using locally sourced spruce in a small, 140 sq m home with no internal walls, Helsinki-based architect Marco Casagrande created a continuous, vessel-like home that he describes as 'sailing through the woods'. But the nautical comparison isn't limited to the design. In fact, the carpenters who were hired to build Apelle normally build boats, not buildings.
Read more at http://www.wallpaper.com/architecture/interactive-floor-plan-apelle-house-finland-by-marco-casagrande/7351#MSrRPqUop4fsAL28.99


PARACITY

  • Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 5:06:34 PM
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  • 1391

"To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now."

- Samuel Beckett

Paracity is a biourban organism that is growing on the principles of Open Form: individual design-build actions generating spontaneous communicative reactions on the surrounding built human environment and this organic constructivist dialog leading into self-organized community structures, development and knowledge building.

The growing organism the Paracity is based on a three dimensional wooden primary structure, organic grid with spatial modules of 6 x 6 x 6 metres constructed out of CLT cross-laminated timber sticks. This simple structure can be modified and grown by the community members working as teams or by an assigned Paracity constructor.

The primary structure can grow even on neglected urban areas, such as river flood plains, hillsides, abandoned industrial areas, storm water channels or slums. Paracity suites perfectly to flooding and tsunami risk areas and the CLT primary structure has a high standard of earthquake performance.

People will attach their individual self-made architectural solutions, gardens and farms on the primary structure, which offers a three dimensional building grid for the DIY architecture. Primary structure offers the main arteries of water and human circulation, but the finer local knowledge nervous networks are grown by the inhabitants. Large parts of the Paracity is occupied by wild and cultivated nature.

Paracity growing on the Danshui River island in Taipei.

Paracity’s self-sustainable biourban growth is backed up by off-the-grid environmental technology solutions providing methods for water purification, energy production, organic waste treatment, waste water purification and sludge recycling. These modular plug-in components can be adjusted according to the growth of the Paracity and moreover, the whole Paracity is designed not only to treat and circulate its own material streams, but to start leaching waste from its host city becoming a positive urban parasite following the similar kind of symbiosis as in-between slums and the surrounding city. In a sense Paracity is a high-tech slum, which can start tuning the industrial city towards an ecologically more sustainable direction.

Paracity is a third generation city, an organic machine, urban compost, which is helping the industrial city to transform into being part of nature.

Scale model 1:50 of a fragment of the Paracity exhibited in the China Central Academy of Fine Art CAFAM Biennale 2014 in Beijing.

PARACITY / TAIPEI

The pilot project of the Paracity is growing on an urban farming island of Danshui River, Taipei City. The island is located between the Zhongxing and Zhonxiao bridges and is around 1000 meters long and 300 meters wide. Paracity Taipei is celebrating the original first generation Taipei urbanism with high level of illegal architecture, self-organized communities, urban farms, community gardens, urban nomads and constructive anarchy.

Paracity Taipei will be powered mostly by bioenergy that is using the organic waste, including sludge, taken from the surrounding industrial city and by farming fast growing biomass on the flood banks of the Taipei river system.

Environmental technology components are mounted on barges that are plugged into the Paracity maintenance docks. Barges can be modified according to the needs of the growing biourbanism.

Paracity Island with the primary structure grid in-between the Zhongxing and Zhonxiao bridges

Paracity is based on free flooding. There are no flood walls. The first 6 m level above the ground is not built, but the whole city is standing on stilts and thus providing the whole ground floor for community actions, nature and space requiring recycling yards.

Paracity Taipei will construct itself through impacts of a collective conscious as a nest of post-industrial insects. Paracity is estimated to have 15.000 – 25.000 inhabitants.

E L E M E N T S

Open form

In its growth Paracity is following the organic design methodology of Open Form (Oscar Hansen, Svein Hatloy), in which community level design is viewed as an open dialog with design actions generating spontaneous design reactions within the surroundings. Open Form is close to the original Taiwanese ways of developing the self organized and often “illegal” communities. These microurban settlements are containing a high volume of Local Knowledge, which we also believe will start composting in Paracity, when opening up the community development to the citizens. Centralized architectural control is opened up in order to let nature including human nature to step in. The life providing volume of Paracity is 11, existence maximum, highest possible life in the given conditions, and more.

CLT Skeleton

Paracity provides the skeleton, but citizens bring in the flesh. Design should not replace reality, Flesh is

More. The skeleton, the primary structure of Paracity is constructed out of 6 meters long (50x50 cm profile) cross laminated timber CLT sticks which are used to form 6x6x6 m cubes, that are piled up to 16 stories high (8 cubes). The CLT primary structure has a fine earthquake performance and it is fire resistant. The structural elements / sticks with wood joints are prefabricated and transported to the Paracity Island

on barges. The construction work – the growing of the Paracity primary organism can be manually done by residents in teams of by professional parasite constructors. The CLT structure is just a landscape on which citizens will attach their own houses and gardens.

Enviromental technology

The biourban growth of the Paracity is supported by high environmental technology which is mounted on barges. These modular bio-vessels are attached to the Paracity service harbor and can be adjusted according to the needs of the evolving urban organism. The post-industrial fleet of bio-vessels can travel along the Taipei river system and is ready to start the biourban restoration process also from other hot-spots of the river city. The environmental technology barges provide solutions for:

• Waste water treatment of Paracity and of the surrounding Taipei

• Water purification. The infrastructural water circulation is originated from the polluted Danshui River.

• Sludge treatment for fertilizer and bio-energy.

• Closed circuit aquaculture.

• Recycling of construction waste.

• Recycling of organic waste for fertilizer and bio-energy.

The barges have no problem with the flooding river.

Paracity maintenance harbor. Environmental technology will be mounted on barges.

Bio-energy

The main energy source for the Paracity is bio-energy, which is using both treated organic waste and sludge from Paracity and surrounding Taipei and especially biomass that is harvested around Paracity and on the flood banks of the Taipei rivers. The fertile flood banks, flood plains and storm water channels provide ideal cultivation areas for fast growing biomass plantations. The vegetation will be harvested by boats and then shipped to Paracity Bio-Energy Facility. The growing of the biomass on the river banks will also benefit on the natural river restoration through root cleansing of sediment pollution and the biomass will have a positive impact on the Taipei micro climate and urban ecology.

Paracity crossing the 12 m high flood wall into the city.

Parasite Urbanism

Paracity is living off the material streams from the surrounding Taipei. Even the polluted river is a resource for this biourban intestine. Paracity is Medieval medicine: using leaches to cure the circulation. Paracity is letting off the bad blood of Taipei and it uses it a resource. In fact it makes money out of the process. Officially 37% of the Taipei City waste water goes untreated to the river. Paracity wants it all. And it wants all the other materials which the industrial city is regarding as “waste”. Paracity and modern Taipei live in a similar kind of a symbiosis as a slum and the city: the urban nomads will clean the static city from its “waste”; only in Paracity the cleaning and recycling process is boosted up by high environmental technology. In a sense the Paracity is a high-tech slum.


Existence Maximum

Paracity is a seed of the Third Generation City, the organic ruin of the industrial city (2G). The modular biourban organism is designed to grow following the rule of nature: existence maximum. The primary structure can be grown by people and after Paracity has reached the critical mass, the life providing system of the CLT structure will start escalating. It will cross the river and start rooting on the flood plains. Then it will cross the 12 meters high Taipei flood wall and grow gradually into the city. Seeds of the Paracity will start rooting in the urban acupuncture points of Taipei: illegal community gardens, urban farms, abandoned cemeteries and waste-lands. From these acupuncture points the Paracity will start growing following the covered irrigation systems, such as the Liukong Channel and eventually the biourban organism and the static city will find a balance, the Third Generation Taipei.

Paracity @ CAFAM Biennale in Beijing.

Mediator

After rooting on the riverside and gaining a critical mass the Paracity will climb over the 12 meters high reinforced concrete flood wall which is separating modern Taipei from the rivers and nature. The flood wall will remain in the guts of the Paracity, but the new structure enables Taipei citizens to fluently reach the river. Paracity will reunite the river reality and the urban fiction. Paracity is a mediator between the modern city and nature.

Bioclimatic Architecture

Paracity has a lot of holes, gaps and nature in-between houses. The system is ventilating itself like a large scale beehive of post-industrial insects. The different temperatures of the roofs, gardens, water bodies and shaded platforms will generate small winds between them and the hot roofs will start sucking in breeze from the cooler river. Also the individual houses should follow the traditional principles of bioclimatic architecture and not rely on mechanical air-conditioning.

Paracity during high water.

Free Flooding

Paracity is based on free flooding. The whole city is standing on stilts allowing the river to pulsate freely with the frequent typhoons and storm waters. The environmental technology of the Paracity is mounted on barges, which have no problem with the flooding either. Actually the Paracity is an organic architectural flood itself, ready to cross the flood wall of Taipei and spread into the mechanical city.

Biourban Restoration

Paracity is a positive organic tumour in the mechanical tissue of Taipei. While it is leaching and processing the industrial and organic waste of the city, it is gaining momentum in its growth and becomes more and more important to the static industrial urbanism. Paracity is an alternative reality within the industrial development and will start treating the city the same ways as the urban acupuncture points of illegal community gardens and urban farms of Taipei do today. Paracity has the ability to become a network of biourban acupuncture tuning the whole industrial city towards the organic, ruining the industrialism on its way to become part of nature, the Third Generation City.


Organic Layers

The biourbanism of the Paracity is as much landscape as it is architecture. The totalitarian landscape-architecture of Paracity includes organic layers for natural water purification and treatment, community gardening, farming and biomass production as an energy source. Infrastructure and irrigation water originates from the polluted Danshui river and will be both chemically and biologically purified before being used in the farms, gardens and houses of the community. The chemically purified water gets pumped to the roof parks on the top level of the Paracity, from where the gravity will circulate the water into the three dimensional irrigation systems.

Adaptability

The pilot-project of the Paracity is designed in Taipei, but the solution is developed to work in different locations around the world. Paracity offers an alternative for the Chinese strategic urban planning to start ecologically harmonizing the growing river cities of China. And Paracity can be used as urban acupuncture for the emerging cities of China and elsewhere. Paracity can grow along the Oshiwara chain of slums in Mumbai providing better living conditions, cleaning up the Oshiwara River and more effectively treating the urban waste that is flooding in from the surrounding city. Paracity can parachute into Nairobi and start growing from the fertile top-soil of the slums. Paracity should grow into the favelas of Brazil and start celebrating the local knowledge of these organic communities. Paracity is organic, adaptable and welcomes local knowledge. The city is built by hands of a high diversity of different people.

Treasure Hill in Taipei, the original local knowledge inspiration for the Paracity biourbanism.

Local Knowledge

Paracity is inspired by the Local Knowledge of Taipei, the original Taiwanese urban elements that include a high level of self-made “illegal” architecture, self-organized communities, extensive networks of self-organized community gardens and urban farms, fluid nomadic ways of using the city, communicative collective subconscious in community and urban scale, feeling of dominating the no-man’s land by human nature and other forms of constructive anarchy. The Paracity basically only provides the primary structure, the three dimensional landscape for the Local Knowledge to be attached and grow. The primary structure and the environmental technology solutions will remain pretty much the same no matter in which culture the Paracity starts to grow, but the real human layer of DIY architecture and gardens will follow the Local Knowledge of the respective culture and site. Paracity is always site-specific and it is always local.

Casagrande Laboratory Centre of Urban Research / PARACITY:

Marco Casagrande, Menno Cramer, Katie Donaghy, Niilo Tenkanen, Nikita Wu, Joni Virkki, Ycy Charlie, Sauli Ylinen, Dave Kan-ju Chen

http://issuu.com/clab-cure/docs/paracity_issuu


CLICK: PARACITY the newspaper


PARACITY

  • Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 5:26:08 PM
  • 0
  • 1586

"To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now."

- Samuel Beckett

Paracity is a biourban organism that is growing on the principles of Open Form: individual design-build actions generating spontaneous communicative reactions on the surrounding built human environment and this organic constructivist dialog leading into self-organized community structures, development and knowledge building.

The growing organism the Paracity is based on a three dimensional wooden primary structure, organic grid with spatial modules of 6 x 6 x 6 metres constructed out of CLT cross-laminated timber sticks. This simple structure can be modified and grown by the community members working as teams or by an assigned Paracity constructor.

Axonometric section of the Paracity.

The primary structure can grow even on neglected urban areas, such as river flood plains, hillsides, abandoned industrial areas, storm water channels or slums. Paracity suites perfectly to flooding and tsunami risk areas and the CLT primary structure has a high standard of earthquake performance.

People will attach their individual self-made architectural solutions, gardens and farms on the primary structure, which offers a three dimensional building grid for the DIY architecture. Primary structure offers the main arteries of water and human circulation, but the finer local knowledge nervous networks are grown by the inhabitants. Large parts of the Paracity is occupied by wild and cultivated nature.

Paracity growing on the Danshui River island in Taipei.

Paracity’s self-sustainable biourban growth is backed up by off-the-grid environmental technology solutions providing methods for water purification, energy production, organic waste treatment, waste water purification and sludge recycling. These modular plug-in components can be adjusted according to the growth of the Paracity and moreover, the whole Paracity is designed not only to treat and circulate its own material streams, but to start leaching waste from its host city becoming a positive urban parasite following the similar kind of symbiosis as in-between slums and the surrounding city. In a sense Paracity is a high-tech slum, which can start tuning the industrial city towards an ecologically more sustainable direction.

Paracity is a third generation city, an organic machine, urban compost, which is helping the industrial city to transform into being part of nature.

Scale model 1:50 of a fragment of the Paracity exhibited in the China Central Academy of Fine Art CAFAM Biennale 2014 in Beijing.

PARACITY / TAIPEI

The pilot project of the Paracity is growing on an urban farming island of Danshui River, Taipei City. The island is located between the Zhongxing and Zhonxiao bridges and is around 1000 meters long and 300 meters wide. Paracity Taipei is celebrating the original first generation Taipei urbanism with high level of illegal architecture, self-organized communities, urban farms, community gardens, urban nomads and constructive anarchy.

Paracity Taipei will be powered mostly by bioenergy that is using the organic waste, including sludge, taken from the surrounding industrial city and by farming fast growing biomass on the flood banks of the Taipei river system.

Environmental technology components are mounted on barges that are plugged into the Paracity maintenance docks. Barges can be modified according to the needs of the growing biourbanism.

Paracity Island with the primary structure grid in-between the Zhongxing and Zhonxiao bridges

Paracity is based on free flooding. There are no flood walls. The first 6 m level above the ground is not built, but the whole city is standing on stilts and thus providing the whole ground floor for community actions, nature and space requiring recycling yards.

Paracity Taipei will construct itself through impacts of a collective conscious as a nest of post-industrial insects. Paracity is estimated to have 15.000 – 25.000 inhabitants.

E L E M E N T S

Open form

In its growth Paracity is following the organic design methodology of Open Form (Oscar Hansen, Svein Hatloy), in which community level design is viewed as an open dialog with design actions generating spontaneous design reactions within the surroundings. Open Form is close to the original Taiwanese ways of developing the self organized and often “illegal” communities. These microurban settlements are containing a high volume of Local Knowledge, which we also believe will start composting in Paracity, when opening up the community development to the citizens. Centralized architectural control is opened up in order to let nature including human nature to step in. The life providing volume of Paracity is 11, existence maximum, highest possible life in the given conditions, and more.

CLT Skeleton

Paracity provides the skeleton, but citizens bring in the flesh. Design should not replace reality, Flesh is

More. The skeleton, the primary structure of Paracity is constructed out of 6 meters long (50x50 cm profile) cross laminated timber CLT sticks which are used to form 6x6x6 m cubes, that are piled up to 16 stories high (8 cubes). The CLT primary structure has a fine earthquake performance and it is fire resistant. The structural elements / sticks with wood joints are prefabricated and transported to the Paracity Island

on barges. The construction work – the growing of the Paracity primary organism can be manually done by residents in teams of by professional parasite constructors. The CLT structure is just a landscape on which citizens will attach their own houses and gardens.

Enviromental technology

The biourban growth of the Paracity is supported by high environmental technology which is mounted on barges. These modular bio-vessels are attached to the Paracity service harbor and can be adjusted according to the needs of the evolving urban organism. The post-industrial fleet of bio-vessels can travel along the Taipei river system and is ready to start the biourban restoration process also from other hot-spots of the river city. The environmental technology barges provide solutions for:

• Waste water treatment of Paracity and of the surrounding Taipei

• Water purification. The infrastructural water circulation is originated from the polluted Danshui River.

• Sludge treatment for fertilizer and bio-energy.

• Closed circuit aquaculture.

• Recycling of construction waste.

• Recycling of organic waste for fertilizer and bio-energy.

The barges have no problem with the flooding river.

Paracity maintenance harbor. Environmental technology will be mounted on barges.

Bio-energy

The main energy source for the Paracity is bio-energy, which is using both treated organic waste and sludge from Paracity and surrounding Taipei and especially biomass that is harvested around Paracity and on the flood banks of the Taipei rivers. The fertile flood banks, flood plains and storm water channels provide ideal cultivation areas for fast growing biomass plantations. The vegetation will be harvested by boats and then shipped to Paracity Bio-Energy Facility. The growing of the biomass on the river banks will also benefit on the natural river restoration through root cleansing of sediment pollution and the biomass will have a positive impact on the Taipei micro climate and urban ecology.

Paracity crossing the 12 m high flood wall into the city.

Parasite Urbanism

Paracity is living off the material streams from the surrounding Taipei. Even the polluted river is a resource for this biourban intestine. Paracity is Medieval medicine: using leaches to cure the circulation. Paracity is letting off the bad blood of Taipei and it uses it a resource. In fact it makes money out of the process. Officially 37% of the Taipei City waste water goes untreated to the river. Paracity wants it all. And it wants all the other materials which the industrial city is regarding as “waste”. Paracity and modern Taipei live in a similar kind of a symbiosis as a slum and the city: the urban nomads will clean the static city from its “waste”; only in Paracity the cleaning and recycling process is boosted up by high environmental technology. In a sense the Paracity is a high-tech slum.


Existence Maximum

Paracity is a seed of the Third Generation City, the organic ruin of the industrial city (2G). The modular biourban organism is designed to grow following the rule of nature: existence maximum. The primary structure can be grown by people and after Paracity has reached the critical mass, the life providing system of the CLT structure will start escalating. It will cross the river and start rooting on the flood plains. Then it will cross the 12 meters high Taipei flood wall and grow gradually into the city. Seeds of the Paracity will start rooting in the urban acupuncture points of Taipei: illegal community gardens, urban farms, abandoned cemeteries and waste-lands. From these acupuncture points the Paracity will start growing following the covered irrigation systems, such as the Liukong Channel and eventually the biourban organism and the static city will find a balance, the Third Generation Taipei.

Paracity @ CAFAM Biennale in Beijing.

Mediator

After rooting on the riverside and gaining a critical mass the Paracity will climb over the 12 meters high reinforced concrete flood wall which is separating modern Taipei from the rivers and nature. The flood wall will remain in the guts of the Paracity, but the new structure enables Taipei citizens to fluently reach the river. Paracity will reunite the river reality and the urban fiction. Paracity is a mediator between the modern city and nature.

Bioclimatic Architecture

Paracity has a lot of holes, gaps and nature in-between houses. The system is ventilating itself like a large scale beehive of post-industrial insects. The different temperatures of the roofs, gardens, water bodies and shaded platforms will generate small winds between them and the hot roofs will start sucking in breeze from the cooler river. Also the individual houses should follow the traditional principles of bioclimatic architecture and not rely on mechanical air-conditioning.

Paracity during high water.

Free Flooding

Paracity is based on free flooding. The whole city is standing on stilts allowing the river to pulsate freely with the frequent typhoons and storm waters. The environmental technology of the Paracity is mounted on barges, which have no problem with the flooding either. Actually the Paracity is an organic architectural flood itself, ready to cross the flood wall of Taipei and spread into the mechanical city.

Biourban Restoration

Paracity is a positive organic tumour in the mechanical tissue of Taipei. While it is leaching and processing the industrial and organic waste of the city, it is gaining momentum in its growth and becomes more and more important to the static industrial urbanism. Paracity is an alternative reality within the industrial development and will start treating the city the same ways as the urban acupuncture points of illegal community gardens and urban farms of Taipei do today. Paracity has the ability to become a network of biourban acupuncture tuning the whole industrial city towards the organic, ruining the industrialism on its way to become part of nature, the Third Generation City.


Organic Layers

The biourbanism of the Paracity is as much landscape as it is architecture. The totalitarian landscape-architecture of Paracity includes organic layers for natural water purification and treatment, community gardening, farming and biomass production as an energy source. Infrastructure and irrigation water originates from the polluted Danshui river and will be both chemically and biologically purified before being used in the farms, gardens and houses of the community. The chemically purified water gets pumped to the roof parks on the top level of the Paracity, from where the gravity will circulate the water into the three dimensional irrigation systems.

Adaptability

The pilot-project of the Paracity is designed in Taipei, but the solution is developed to work in different locations around the world. Paracity offers an alternative for the Chinese strategic urban planning to start ecologically harmonizing the growing river cities of China. And Paracity can be used as urban acupuncture for the emerging cities of China and elsewhere. Paracity can grow along the Oshiwara chain of slums in Mumbai providing better living conditions, cleaning up the Oshiwara River and more effectively treating the urban waste that is flooding in from the surrounding city. Paracity can parachute into Nairobi and start growing from the fertile top-soil of the slums. Paracity should grow into the favelas of Brazil and start celebrating the local knowledge of these organic communities. Paracity is organic, adaptable and welcomes local knowledge. The city is built by hands of a high diversity of different people.

Treasure Hill in Taipei, the original local knowledge inspiration for the Paracity biourbanism.

Local Knowledge

Paracity is inspired by the Local Knowledge of Taipei, the original Taiwanese urban elements that include a high level of self-made “illegal” architecture, self-organized communities, extensive networks of self-organized community gardens and urban farms, fluid nomadic ways of using the city, communicative collective subconscious in community and urban scale, feeling of dominating the no-man’s land by human nature and other forms of constructive anarchy. The Paracity basically only provides the primary structure, the three dimensional landscape for the Local Knowledge to be attached and grow. The primary structure and the environmental technology solutions will remain pretty much the same no matter in which culture the Paracity starts to grow, but the real human layer of DIY architecture and gardens will follow the Local Knowledge of the respective culture and site. Paracity is always site-specific and it is always local.

Casagrande Laboratory Centre of Urban Research / PARACITY:

Marco Casagrande, Menno Cramer, Katie Donaghy, Niilo Tenkanen, Nikita Wu, Joni Virkki, Ycy Charlie, Sauli Ylinen, Dave Kan-ju Chen

http://issuu.com/clab-cure/docs/paracity_issuu


CLICK: PARACITY the newspaper


Professor Marco Casagrande (Finland) appointed Vice-President of the International Society of Biourb

  • Friday, February 07, 2014 - 11:18:39 AM
  • 0
  • 590

[PRESS RELEASE]

European Prize for Architecture 2013, founder of the Ruin Academy and of the C-LAB, Marco Casagrande is an innovative architect and social thinker who aims at bringing human authenticity back to urbanism, architecture, and art. His biourban acupuncture has become a revolutionary bottom-up and p2p approach to urban planning. He has worked, exhibited, and taught in several countries: Finland (Helsinki University), Italy (Biennale di Venezia, ISB School in Neuroergonomics), Austria (MAK, Vienna), Taiwan (Tamkang University), USA (Alaska Design Forum), etc. His latest book is Biourban Acupuncture. From Treasure Hill to Artena, ISB 2013.

Established in 2010, the International Society of Biourbanism is a worldwide innovative network of interdisciplinary scholars involved in establishing a new paradigm in urban studies and practice. It focuses on the role played by natural laws on forms, on the laws of form, and on the contribution that complexity and systems theory may offer to city planning. It works on the basis of a human-centred design process, tapping into biophilia and neuroergonomics. It explores new building and planning methodologies, such as biourban acupuncture and p2p urbanism.

Marco Casagrande has been collaborating with the ISB since its foundation with publications and discussions. In 2013, he taught at the ISB Summer School on Neuroergonomics and Urban Placemaking, published his book Biourban Acupuncture. From Treasure Hill to Artena with the ISB, and founded the Italian branch of the Ruin Academy in Artena, Italy, together with the ISB.

The ISB board proposed Marco Casagrande as Vice-President during the society’s selection campaign in January 2014. He was elected after an unanimous vote by members from several countries.


INSECT ARCHITECT

  • Saturday, December 28, 2013 - 9:21:58 AM
  • 0
  • 920

Mia Zhang interviewing Marco Casagrande

PRO.DESIGN 01/2014

ISBN 978-988-12438-8-1

Cicada, Taipei

Marco enjoys insect architecture construction, where the building parts are human scale -- fits a hand and the structure can be woven up together by small scale repetitions, like insect architecture.

Pro. Design: What inspired you to get into architecture?

Marco Casagrande (Marco for short): I have always been drawing, playing in forest, building snow cave systems and imagining my own worlds, telling stories to myself. I didn't choose architecture, I just ended up there.

Pro. Design: What would you prefer to be called, architect, environmental artist, or social theorist?

Marco: I would like to be called something that combines all of those three. Maybe Constructor or Insect.

T-Factory, Sanjhih, Taiwan

Pro. Design: Insect Architect?

Marco: I enjoy this kind of construction, where the building parts are human scale - fits a hand and the structure can be woven up together by small scale repetitions, like insect architecture. I got very curious about insects when fixing up a Fujian style brick roof in T-Factory, Sanjhih, North-Taiwan and a bee came to steal my cement from my red bucket. This big bee kept coming back and I wondered what he did with the cement -- could he digest it? (I had mixed some lime and sea-weed into the cement for flexibility.) After a couple of months I found the cocoon of the bee in the downstairs of our living ruin. He had mixed the concrete with mud and pieces of straw and wood in order to create a fantastic dome structure with natural ventilation for his offspring, which had flown away. I documented this cocoon and started imagining humans in insect scale and building these kinds of cocoons and other insect architecture strictly tied with nature for us modern men as industrial insects.

Wasp cocoon made out of weak concrete.

Pro. Design: Insect Architect? Since 1999, you have created 65 cross-disciplinary, original and radical works within 14 years? It sounds quite a large number. How could you be inspired so much?

Marco: There is no limitation for inspiration. Limitation is a different thing. Life is unlimited inspiration. Inspiration is kind of a thought originating from nature, the life-providing system. This system is one big brain and if you connect with it, you are inspired. Nature thinks through you.

Pro. Design: I saw a picture of you carrying stones during the construction of Bug Dome project in Shenzhen City. Are you always engaged yourself in the whole construction process?

Marco: Being present is the key of all art. It is a blessing, not a burden. Architecture is not a remote control art, but it requires humane presence. I must be there in order to understand, what the architecture is trying to transmit, what it needs to become. I am a simple architect, not a fortune-teller…I need to be there.

Pro. Design: Your studio name is Casagrande lab. I mean, Casagrande is your name, of course, but why “lab”? Is experimentation your major focus? Then what do you experimenting on?

We are working more like a laboratory than an office. All our work is project based and cross-disciplinary. Sometimes, when we are really good, you could call us a circus. Art is a constant experiment by its nature. Also the deepest nature of architecture is the unknown.

Pro. Design: You used a lot of willow. I have seen willow woven objects like basket. They are adorable, and because they are small they don’t seem to contrast drastically to the modern world. But a large project, like Cicada in Taipei, would contrast a lot to the surrounding, at least to me. So how do you see that contrast?

Marco: Mixed feelings. It shows how brutal the surrounding city is, but same time offers an escape or retreat to the modern man. In some sense this kind of insect architecture is acting as a mediator between the modern man and nature. You can also see how totally the modern city is lacking local knowledge.

Cicada, Taipei

Pro. Design: How would you describe your style?

Marco: No trends, no style – just architecture. Later, when the transformation is almost complete, my way is insect architecture.

Pro. Design: What do you enjoy most in your work?

Marco: Seeing the unknown, forgotten and neglected. I enjoy the feeling of freedom and clarity, when you are truly working, when architecture is near.

Pro. Design: What do you think is the most important quality of an architect?

Marco: There are different ways, not only one. Some architects have the capacity of being a design shaman, interpreting what the bigger nature of collective mind or shared conscious if transmitting. This shamanism is close to nature.

Chen House, Sanjhih, Taiwan

Pro. Design: What are the aspects of architecture you consider most important?

Marco: Constructing human environment as a mediator between man and nature. This can be both practical and spiritual.

Pro. Design: What do you think of the current situation of architecture?

Marco: Boring. Modern architecture is dominated by industrialism and tries to compensate this trauma by flashy images and computer generated mutations. Architecture has become pornography for architects and kinky architecture hangs around politicians and businessmen, who get pleasure in dominating an architect to make their twisted orders come true. In this situation architect is a prostitute, which becomes boring after a while. We really have to focus on local knowledge and the possibilities of bio-urbanism together with normal people and get rid of the power-architecture.

Ruin Academy in Artena, Italy

Pro. Design: Could you share with us briefly about what you are working on currently?

Marco: I am setting up NOMAD - an environmental art and architecture school with architect Hans-Petter Bjørnådal in Hemnes, Norway and I am setting up Ruin Academy with architects Roan Ching-Yueh and Hsieh Ying-Chun in Taipei and with the International Society of Biourbanism in Artena, Italy. I am starting to design a new wooden house in Taidong, South-Taiwan. This house will be floating in jungle.

Pro. Design: I saw you quoted Bertolt Brecht “In a dream last night, I saw a great storm. It seized the scaffolding….” So you read a lot of Bertolt Brecht? Which of his book is your favourite? What other writers do you like?

Marco: I like Brecht poems. They are good for hang-over.

Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness

Arkady and Boris Strugatsky: Roadside Picnic

Adorno & Horkheimer: Dialectics of Enlightment

Burgess: A Clockwork Organge

Claude Levi-Straus: The Savage Mind

Beckett: Waiting for Godot

Lao Tzu: Dao Te Qing

Kropotkin: The Spirit of Revolt

Kalevala

Tolstoy: War and Peace

But movies are equally important:

Tarkovsky: Stalker

Francis Ford Coppola: Apocalypse NOW!

Fritz Lang: Metropolis

Kubrick: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Eisenstein: Ivan the Terrible

Bergman: 7th Seal

Kurozawa: Dersu Uzala

Herzog: Fata Morgana

Kaurismäki: Man Withouth Past

Schlöndorff: The Tin Drum

Pro. Design: What do you believe in?

Marco: Life / Nature, Accident

Pro. Design: Is there any difference between the working you and the not working you?

Marco: I am in the ruins, in the cross-roads, on river banks and garbage dumps. The office-me is nothing of this, but I am constantly aware of it and constantly escape to the jungle.

Pro. Design: What kind of lifestyle do you prefer?

Marco: Real Reality.

Madam Chen at Chen House

Pro. Design: What do you love to do when you are not designing?

Marco: Fishing. Boxing. Drinking. Sauna. Play with kids. Enduro. Watch movies. Pick mushrooms.

Pro. Design: Do you like music? What is your favorite musician?

Marco: Right now I enjoy to dance Greek Zorbas with my 9 months old son.

Pro. Design: You have to expose yourself in nature so as to get inspired. But getting close to nature always reminds me of being wild and adventurous. Would the birth of your son change your way of approaching nature? Would you take a more reserved way?

Marco: Nature is about energy exchange. you have to input some of your own energy in order to receive reality. Other than that is just viewing of nature, which is kind of a fiction. Real nature demands your energy. Flesh is more. My son will not be "protected" from nature; on the contrary, the whole family will be fully sacrificed to nature. One has to die a bit to be re-born.


Marco Casagrande awarded the International Committee of Architectural Critics CICA 2013 Prize

  • Monday, October 07, 2013 - 7:07:09 AM
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International Committee of Architectural Critics / Comit&e’ International d'Critiques d'Architecture CICA has awarded Finnish Architect Marco Casagrande their 2013 main award based on "conceptual and artistic architecture". The jury consists of Trevor Boddy (Architectural Record etc.), Manuel Cuadra (CICA) and Kieran Long (Architectural Review etc.)


CICA brings together critics, theorists and historians from all over the world. The members of CICA share the conviction that criticism and the theoretical discourse of architecture in general are integral parts of the architectural process. Consequently, CICA and its members see themselves as working towards a better architecture and better cities alongside the architects.

http://entrerayas.com/2013/09/todos-los-premios-y-concursos-de-la-xiv-bienal-internacional-de-arquitectura-de-buenos-aires-ba13/