26 April, 2011


Ruin Academy is an independent cross-over architectural research centre in the Urban Core -area of Taipei, Taiwan. The Academy is run in co-operation between the Finland based Casagrande Laboratory and Taiwanese JUT Foundation for Arts & Architecture.

Greek version

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Ruin academy is set to re-think the industrial city and the moden man in a box. It organizes workshops and courses for various Taiwanese and international universities including the National Taiwan University Department of Sociology, Tamkang University Department of Architecture, Aalto University Sustainable Global Technologies Centre and Helsinki University of Arts and Design Department of Environmental Art. 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 Ruin Academy occupies an abandoned 5-story apartment building in central Taipei. All the interior walls of the building and all the windows are removed in order to grow bamboo and vegetables inside the house. The professors and students are sleeping and working in mahogany made ad-hoc dormitories and have a public sauna in the 5th floor. All the building is penetrated with 6 inch holes in order to let "rain inside". The Academy is viewed as an example or fragment of the Third Generation City, the organic ruin of the industrial city.

The Ruin Academy locates in Taipei in an abandoned apartment block turned into a compost of the modern city. Compost as the future top-soil.
The Ruin Academy does not rely or design, but hooks on to the Local Knowledge of the Taipei basin and reacts on this. Design should not replace rality. Local knowledge is pushing through the industrial surface of the modern Taipei like a positive sickness of the industrial city or like a humane sweat of the machine. Ruin Academy is looking forward to sweat. The Ruin Academy is looking at the ruining processes of Taipei that keep the city alive. Taipei is growing the Third Generation City - a real reality way beyond the industrial nonsence.

The Ruin Academy operates with Taipei as the urban case study and with various smaller projects in Taiwan in order to determine the elements of the Third Generation City. Our students/operators are not volunteers, they are called constructor-gardeners. We want to farm a city and treat it with urban acupuncture tuning the city towards the organic. Taipei is a no-man's land being dominated by the official industrialism and the anarchy of the jungle. Ruin Academy joins the urban farmers. In Grandmothers we trust.

500 m2 / 5 floors, 20 m deep, 5 m wide.
Concrete, mahogany, white gravel, top-soil, 6 inch holes.
Bamboo, taro, chinese cabbage, passion fruit, Aspenium nidus, wild trees, ferns and undergrowth.


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- Blown open and filled with top soil.
- Construction waste for a drainage layer.
- 5 olive trees.

1st Floor, "Archive"
- 6 inch segments of the house on white stones.
- 6 inch holes in the long facade.
- Mahogany bridge over the basement-hole.
- Pile of dirt in the far corner with taro.
- Fire-place.


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2nd Floor, "Student Dormitory"
- Mahogany sleeping unit for 4 students.
- Working tables growing bamboo, mahogany.
- Vegetable garden with passion fruit, Aspenium nidus and chinese cabbage.
- 6 inch holes through the floor and ceiling.
- Kitchen and toilet.


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3rd Floor, "Professor's Deck"
- Mahogany bed on wheels.
- Bamboo growing through windows.
- 6 inch holes through the floor and ceiling.
- Kitchen and toilet.

4th Floor, "Lounge"
- Stage.
- Bamboo growing through windows.
- 6 inch holes through the floor and ceiling.
- Toilet.
- Fire-place.

5th Floor, "Sauna"
- Public sauna, all mahogany - best sauna in the Pacific.
- Chill-out room, white stones.
- Showers with bamboo and taro.
- 6 inch hole.

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The Ruin Academy is run in co-operation between the Casagrande Laboratory / Finland and JUT Foundation for Arts & Architecture / Taiwan.

Architect: Marco Casagrande
Project Manager: Nikita Wu
JUT Foundation Coordinators: Lea Yi-Chen Lin, Yi-Ling Hung
Photo credit: AdDa


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