Chen House / C-Laboratory

Architects: C-Laboratory
Location: Sanjhih, Taipei County, Taiwan
Project and Construction team: Marco Casagrande, Frank Chen, Shi-Ding Chen, Nikita Wu, Shu-Gi Bai
Local Knowledge: Missis Lee
Site Area: 3,890 sqm
Building foot print: 138 sqm
Interior space: 62.5 sqm
Materials: mahogany, concrete
Completed: 2008
Photographs: C-Lab

The house is realized on an old Japanese cherry-farm in the Datun -mountains of North-Taiwan. It is designed as a vessel to react on the demanding wind, flooding and heat conditions on the site.

The house is a stick raised above the ground in order to let the flood waters run under it. The different spaces are connected to a flexible movement within the axis of outdoor and indoor functions. The smaller bathroom and kitchen unit acts as a kicker stabilizing the wooden structure during the frequent typhoons and earthquakes.

section 01

The bio-climatic architecture is designed to catch the cool breeze from the Datun -river during the hot days and to let in the small winds circulating on the site between the fresh water reservoir pond and the farmlands. A fire place is used during the winter for heating and for cooking tea. In connection with the bathroom is a small sauna.

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.

Cite: "Chen House / C-Laboratory" 02 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Phil

    i don’t think it can easily be ruined by nature,
    and i doubt about the function of that fire place, if it’s in the snowing north europe, maybe, but the hotly south asia???
    it just look nice.

    • Ming

      Taiwan experiences the 4 season too. Temperature dips during winter but there is no snow. Therefore, imo, the fire place does serve its purpose in providing warmth during the colder months, especially in such an open, outdoor structure.

  • richie

    almost loving it

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  • Michael (P)

    What a beautiful design!
    Not for everyone, but it works so well for that context.

    This is architecture that makes a human being feel like a real human being – not a fake jewel in a pretentious bling box.

    The plan is reminiscent of an aircraft carrier. I wonder if that was intentional given the environmental requirements of wind and water management.

    Nice job C-Lab.

  • Darion W

    The fireplace looks like it may double as a grill. An interesting design detail, in my opinion.

  • Maax

    Designed only to design.

  • armando

    I like especially its simple, reminds me of Costa Rica, but do not understand How to solve the entry of mosquitoes? . in these areas are endemic