Project size: Covered space 2,260 square feet; Terrace 5,600 square feet
Program: A family living in Taiwan wanted to give new life to a crumbling, redbrick farmhouse on their lush, tropical property. In 2009 they commissioned Finnish'based firm Casagrande Laboratory to design the project.
Location: The property is located on a hilly site in Yangmingshan National Park outside Taipei, where jungle encroaches upon the house.
Solution: Completed in 2013, the renovation and addition, dubbed 'Ultra-Ruin,' melds jungle, decay, and new construction. The new building envelops the old farmhouse in a horseshoe-shaped series of rooms, terraces, and porches, creating what the architect calls an 'architectural organism' with an irregularly-shaped floor plan.
The architects placed two tower-like volumes at either end of the original house. The primary living volume on the house's south end comprises a sleeping loft, restrooms and a bath, and a fireplace. Walking to the north end of the house through an open courtyard and a covered dining hall, one reaches the second volume containing a stainless steel-clad kitchen. Two smaller structures housing a sauna and a pool with a double-height ceiling are accessible from this end of the house. A roof top sky deck wraps around the perimeter of the house and through tree branches.
Construction methods: The structure, hand-built by traditional Taiwanese temple builders, used mahogany, zelkova, camphor, and Taiwan cypress with natural stone forming a retaining wall and the walls of the sauna.
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