Chen House


In a dream last night, I saw a great storm. It seized the scaffolding. It tore the cross-clasps, the iron ones, down. But what was made of wood, swayed and remained.

~ Bertolt Brecht, inspiration for the Chen House

Designed by Casagrande Laboratory, of Finland, the Chen House was built on the site of an old Japanese cherry farm in the Datun mountains, North Taiwan. Built of mahogany [with concrete footings], the house was designed as a direct response to the extreme weather sometimes seen in the mountains – including severe heat in the summer, strong winds, and seasonal flooding.


With these local environmental elements in mind, the house has been raised above the ground plain to avoid the flood waters, and is incredibly porous [as you can see in the photos] – allowing a breeze coming across a local river to cool the structure. The house also attempts to protect itself from typhoons and earthquakes by using the smaller kitchen/bath volume as a ‘kicker’ to stabilize the structure.


The house is not strong or heavy – it is weak and flexible. It is also not closing the environment out, but designed to give the farmers a needed shelter.

Ruin is when man-made has become part of nature. With this house we were looking forward to design a ruin.

~ C-Laboratory


It’s barely noticeable in these stunning photos, but the actual ‘interior’ of the house is enclosed with glass walls on either end – although I’m not sure how the walls themselves are weatherized [check out the elevation photo, above, and the plan, below]. Even on the ‘interior’, they still appear ‘open’ – with spaces between the boards, allowing the light to stream through. To make up for this space being enclosed, a series of small operable windows are placed along the floor – along with the nana-like wall on the opposite side of the room – to allow for that breeze to enter during the summer.

What a ridiculously sick project.




::more images + info available at

::info, images + any quoted text provided by Casagrande Laboratory::

Posted: July 10th, 2009
at 9:58pm by orangemenace

Tagged with , , , , ,

Categories: architecture,green arch,housing,interiors,featured ninjas

Comments: 2 comments


2 Responses to 'Chen House'

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  1. This is Raw! Stunning authenticity inextricably linked to it’s place, awesome and inspiring, barkarchitects


    11 Jul 09 at 4:14 am


  2. this is super, so rustic and charming!


    30 Jul 09 at 9:44 pm



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