Ultra-Ruin is a living space snugly embedded in the Taiwanese jungle in Taipei. It seems inappropriate to call this a house, it is more of a complex of flexible living spaces, terraces and pathways. Ultra-Ruin is unique because it is built upon the site of an abandoned farmhouse, expanding upon the existing remains of the red brick walls. This architectural approach is organic, holistic and adaptive to the immediate environment. Instead of struggling against the challenges of the site, the construction hugs the contours of the land. The built-on structures are made largely from locally sourced wood, with beautiful mahogany walkways, airy screens and heavy supporting beams. Crafted bronze details can be found everywhere from doorhandles, to joints, to the taps of the inviting outdoor bath.
Though built for a single family, this home feels more like a retreat. There are spaces for meditation, a sauna, a pool, wooden burners and a grand long table for larger gatherings. The relationship between the indoor and outdoor spaces is very fluid, with no clear distinctions between the jungle and the abode. Human life is peacefully enmeshed with the surrounding natural environment—just the way it should be!
Ultra-Ruin was conceived by Finnish architect Marco Casagrande, and his team at the Casagrande Laboratory, or C–Lab. Marco Casagrande won the prestigious 2013 European Prize for Architecture for his important contribution to humanity and the built environment. An urban philosopher, environmental artist, architectural theorist, lover of nature and a visionary rebel in his views on the industrial city, he is a fresh and inspiring voice in the wider field of architecture. You may have already come across C–Lab’s recent project Oystermen, or the twisting Sandworm, woven from willow. If not, do check them out! You can also find more images of Ultra-Ruin on the project’s blog.