A while ago Anna brought you an article on Ultra Ruina Jungle Retreat designed by architect Marco Casagrande. That stunning project saw a ruined farm house in the highlands of Taiwan transformed into a home that connected the structure to the environment in a very unique manner.
Taitung Ruin Academy, also by Casagrande, and again in Taiwan, see's a similar transformation occur although this time with a less finished and more organic approach in it's development. Utilizing an abandoned Japanese-Taiwanese sugar factory in Taitung, Casagrande has begun to reuse space in the most unconventional manner. In this environment the thought of merging heavy industrial structures with natural elements seems almost absurd, and it's that very thought pattern that Casagrande is challenging. Why can't we occupy abandoned spaces? Why can't these cracks in our cities be turned into something that grows and blossoms in ways that civil planners would never usually consider?
Here we see something labeled as dysfunctional being turned into to something living and breathing, and the result is an environment that is unique and challenging. The core of the Ruin Academy occupies the evaporator tanks of the factory with the idea to eventually grow to takeover the entire site. It aims to offer research and educational space for workshops, studios, and extensive community gardening, as well as - I would imagine, grow a unique sense of community. The roof of the factory has been removed in parts to allow for the rain and natural elements to enter in and enable growth. Rain is also being stored for irrigation purposes for times when it's not naturally falling - a clever use of existing systems. The ideas behind this development - the connections that are being made between structure and environment, are really quite remarkable and so unique, even the floors carry this connection being clad either in wood or earth.
As well as this thought provoking architectural conversion, the focus of research for the Taitung Ruin Academy centres around the local knowledge of the indigenous Formosan tribes of the Taitung county - and transforming this knowledge into design methodologies for ecological restoration of existing cities. It's all very interesting stuff and if it's sparked a little interest in you I suggest heading to Marco Casagrande's website where you can see other thoughtful projects and read this talented architects ethos on design and living.