Built on the grounds of an old Japanese cherry farm in the Datun mountains of North Taiwan, the Chen House was designed by Marco Casagrande of Casagrande Laboratory for an elderly retired couple. A simple and inspirational example of bio-climatic architecture, the house catches the cool breezes from the Datun river during hot summer and is raised above the ground to let the flood waters run beneath during the rainy season.
Taiwan used to have a strong culture in wood architecture especially during the Japanese era. Fine timber materials such as Taiwanese cypruss, camphora and zelkova were used on housing in cities and coutryside. After the Japanese era the tradition of wood architecture almost disappeared and was replaced by more industrial building methods. Chen House is build on an old Japanese cherry farm and completely out of mahogany on site. The house was entirely built together by the architects and the clients and the more sensitive qualities of the architecture were reached due to being present on site through physical labor.
The house is adapting to the Local Knowledge of the farming community up in the Datun Mountains. Missis Lee, who have been farming up in the mountains for decades could tell us the valuable environmental characteristics of the site, including the different wind and rain issues. Missis Lee has also proved valuable for the succesfull farming of the Chen House gardens.
Chen House is not relying on Taiwanese building code or industrial methods of construction. It is relying on Local Knowledge and the Taiwanes character of spontaneous and illegal architecture.
The house is built like a boat with tropical hardwood - mahogany, that gave us the structural possibility to use minimal dimensions for structures. The space is breating through gaped walls and it lets cool air coming in throuhg the floor. The windows are designed as adjustable wind catchers in order to capture the diffenrent winds of the day.
The whole house is built by the architects in co-operation with the clients.