European Prize for Architecture 2013, founder of the Ruin Academy and of the C-LAB, Marco Casagrande is an innovative architect and social thinker who aims at bringing human authenticity back to urbanism, architecture, and art. His biourban acupuncture has become a revolutionary bottom-up and p2p approach to urban planning. He has worked, exhibited, and taught in several countries: Finland (Helsinki University), Italy (Biennale di Venezia, ISB School in Neuroergonomics), Austria (MAK, Vienna), Taiwan (Tamkang University), USA (Alaska Design Forum), etc. His latest book is Biourban Acupuncture. From Treasure Hill to Artena, ISB 2013.
Established in 2010, the International Society of Biourbanism is a worldwide innovative network of interdisciplinary scholars involved in establishing a new paradigm in urban studies and practice. It focuses on the role played by natural laws on forms, on the laws of form, and on the contribution that complexity and systems theory may offer to city planning. It works on the basis of a human-centred design process, tapping into biophilia and neuroergonomics. It explores new building and planning methodologies, such as biourban acupuncture and p2p urbanism.
Marco Casagrande has been collaborating with the ISB since its foundation with publications and discussions. In 2013, he taught at the ISB Summer School on Neuroergonomics and Urban Placemaking, published his book Biourban Acupuncture. From Treasure Hill to Artena with the ISB, and founded the Italian branch of the Ruin Academy in Artena, Italy, together with the ISB.
The ISB board proposed Marco Casagrande as Vice-President during the society’s selection campaign in January 2014. He was elected after an unanimous vote by members from several countries.
Marco enjoys insect architecture construction, where the building parts are human scale -- fits a hand and the structure can be woven up together by small scale repetitions, like insect architecture.
Pro. Design: What inspired you to get into architecture?
Marco Casagrande (Marco for short): I have always been drawing, playing in forest, building snow cave systems and imagining my own worlds, telling stories to myself. I didn't choose architecture, I just ended up there.
Pro. Design: What would you prefer to be called, architect, environmental artist, or social theorist?
Marco: I would like to be called something that combines all of those three. Maybe Constructor or Insect.
Saturday, December 28, 2013 - 9:21:58 AMreads : 365
Pictured on this spread: the construction of the RUIN ACADEMY in Taipei (Taiwan, 2010) and the SANDWORM in Wenduine (Belgium, 2012)_PHOTO: NIKITA WU
Wednesday, October 03, 2012 - 9:24:19 AM views : 664
It’s almost three o’clock at night. 18 years old Marco Casagrande is woken up by his father in a house at the edge of a forest in Karjaa.
Beside high school Marco works in the local newspaper Etelä-Uusimaa. The Iron Curtain is cracking and the newspaper wants to send the young reporter to war areas. However, it’s the spring of Marco’s matric exams and his mother had hidden his passport.
Twenty-four years later Marco is barbequing corn and sausages on a terrace. His mom is watching the scene through a glass door, smiling. The son returned and started to study architecture. But the mom’s part hasn’t been the lightest. After two years studies in architecture Marco wanted to have a break. He left to Bosnia as a mercenary. About his war experiences he wrote a novel, which led into a war crime investigation. A bit after graduation, in the year 2003, Marco drove through Russia by a Land Rover and blogged about the trip:
“After stopping the car at the station we saw glass-eyed young guys in their army clothes coming out from the containers and circling our car - we had mentioned we were heading to Khabarovsk, and were afraid of an ambush - - We left the street and drove along a caterpillar track into a forest - - At night we were awakened by roaring from the woods - - It was a bear.”
The projects of the architect Marco Casagrande haven’t been what the parents expected, not even in the finest stages. In 2000 Marco steered a wrecking ship packed with human shit to Venice Biennale. There was a little forest planted on the dirt. They loved it and invited him twice that after.
As a professor of architecture in Taipei Casagrande didn’t make it easy on himself. He moved into abandoned tea factory ruins, built a piece of roof and started teaching there. At night wandering ants made their way over the professor.
KNOWING THE BACKGROUND Marco’s life seems quite serene now.
- Is it soon ready, the daughter asks.
The grill hisses.
- Let’s check the other side. Isn’t it a HK’s sausage you want, the father says.
Marco and his Taiwanese wife have moved to Finland from Taipei. They have two children and the family is building a home next to Marco’s parents. Maybe the grandma is looking forward barbecuing together, adventuring the neighbouring woods and the nearby observatory.
Is it like this Marco?
I open you the door, says Casagrande pointing to the construction site. Have a look, I’ll be there in ten minutes.
That’s enough time to have a Saturday family lunch.
He arrives in time and talks like a war was still on. In this house nobody is listening behind a corner. There’s just one big space.
- I see myself as a Trojan horse in relation to the clients who are dazzled by the title architect. Inside the architectural horse I bring in the real work.
Though with a military posture.
- The mission is always holy. If the mission is to build a sandworm of 45 meters, so be it.
Monday, August 27, 2012 - 10:31:11 AM views : 561
2: How do you use urban acupuncture to create architecture?
First you have to determine the sensitive flows of the built human environment. Based on those you have to determine the acupuncture points. The last is to determine what is the needle: architectural reaction. The key to understand this is to be present. To be truly present one has to give up, one has to be weak. To be present is the key of all art.
Monday, April 18, 2011 - 1:08:17 PM views : 657
Taipei exists because of the river. The first generation Taipei lived in straight connection with the river nature and it developed its local knowledge, how to harvest the rich resources of river systems, how to survive with the floods and even how to make artificial man-made floods as the basics of rice farming. The second generation Taipei is the industrial manifesto of a city as a machine and independent from the nature. In case of Taipei the river nature was shut off from the urban narrative more radically than perhaps anywhere else in the word: the industrial city built its own city wall, a 12 meters high reinforced concrete wall to block the river entirely from the city. This wall has proven to be very effective to cut nature out of urban life. Now the citizens are children of the machine, not nature.
Thursday, December 01, 2011 - 11:00:27 AM views : 670
When a man comes to the jungle he cleans up a spot and builds his house. The walls of the house and the hard surfaces are constructed to keep the nature out. When man moves away from his house the jungle will come in. Nature reads the house and step-by-step the architecture will become part of nature. But the nature does not want everything. Plenty of space is left for the man to come back.
Monday, April 11, 2011 - 10:18:03 PM views : 788
Urban planning integrates land use planning and transportation planning to improve the built, economic and social environments of communities.
Urban design concerns the arrangement, appearance and functionality of towns and cities, and in particular the shaping and uses of urban public space.
Environmental art is art dealing with ecological issues and possibly in political, historical or social context.
Sociology is a science of human social activity.
Anarchy is acting without waiting for instructions or official permission. The root of anarchism is the single impulse to do it yourself: everything else follows from this.
Sunday, November 07, 2010 - 6:53:18 AM views : 556
"Dave" chairs at the Ruin Academy.
Ruin is when man-made has become part of nature. We want this to happen to the industrial city and we want this to happen for the modern man. Taipei is currently presenting the most advanced industrial co-existence of a modern city and uncontrollable organic anarchy, nature including human nature pushing through the industrial surface and tuning the whole city towards the organic. To understand this force the academic disciplines are much for no use, also the politics will provide no tools. Communication needs to find another way.
Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 12:41:32 PM views : 1518
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