Stalker / Film by A.Tarkovsky

Ruins of the future

An interview with Marco Casagrande on the significance of ruins by Liva Dudareva

Read intro

An interview with Marco Casagrande

An interview by Liva Dudareva

Marco Casagrande is an award winning Finnish architect currently residing in Finland. His work and teaching is a synthesis of architecture, urbanism and environmental art. Nature and the human relationship with nature, but also the nature of man, serve as the basis for his theory, explorations and practice. Nature re-colonising the city is the main concept of his Third Generation City. It is a vision of a future city where nature has taken over the man-made industrial city and so has established new rules for urban life. A city that becomes an organic machine, a complex energy organism, that evolves through a continuous process of ruination. People help to open up spots in the urban fabric for nature to step in. Marco refers to this process as Urban Acupuncture – a strategic instrument for the development of Third Generation City. While living in Taiwan, Marco founded a Ruin Academy which at the time was based in Treasure Hill in Taipei. It served as a prototype for the Third Generation City.
Hide intro

How did you become interested in ruins?

There was a time when I felt kind of sick or kind of disturbed when I was looking at old drawings of ruins, that were displayed most of the time as romantic establishments relating to the period of the Enlightenment. But then I came across the book called “Dialectics of Enlightenment” by Max Horkheimer and Teodor Adorno. They both belonged to the philosophical school called the Frankfurt School. They had to escape Germany during the Second World War, and both went to the US, where they wrote this book. In short, “Dialectics of Enlightenment” is about how industrialism betrayed the Enlightenment. I was reading it, and somehow got interested again in ruins.

What does ruin mean for the city?

In my point of view there is only one reality and it is nature. The official city is going towards fiction. Its just a some kind of mad dream of central hierarchies.

I used to live in Taiwan which has lots of ruins. When the Japanese left Taiwan, they left Japanese houses which the Taiwanese didn’t maintain but neither did they destroy them. Taipei has been growing very fast, and so nature had overtaken these Japanese ruins very quickly, turning them into small ecosystems inside the city. When you have a lot of small holes in the city, which nature takes over, they become points of acupuncture. The city is so fat and lazy, and industrial, and these acupuncture points in the form of Japanese ruins are actually doing some sort of good for Taipei in general, and people feel it. People are very interested, and I got interested in the question of how it is possible that there is this official city, which is polluted and basically trying to destroy nature, while inside the city you have people that are very real. They are using the official city in a very organic way and putting some new layers on top of it. I find it very hopeful. Ruins seem to play some sort of part in it. I started to research illegal communities in Taiwan, and in all settlements the jungle was playing part of it, and urban farming was playing part of it, and also the people. I was absolutely fascinated, because in Taiwan these communities could be in very high densities, without design, official systems or central power. They were real. And that is a key word. In my point of view there is only one reality and it is nature. The official city is going towards fiction. It’s just a kind of mad dream of the central hierarchies. Because it is not real, it is against nature and the symptom of that is pollution and so forth.

I got interested in the reality to the point that I asked TamKang University, where I was architecture professor at the time, to find me a ruin, because I could no longer live in a house. I wanted to move into a ruin. My wife would move into the ruin too. I would no longer teach in the institution, and students would also come to the ruin.

Ruin Academy / Nikita Wu

Ruin Academy /​Nikita Wu

What kind of knowledge from nature did you gain while living in the ruin?

When I was working in the Treasure Hill, we changed it into the Third Generation City and it was real. Same thing when we moved to the Tea Factory – to the ruin of the Tea Factory. We had to find out what you really need to survive. It is not romantic. For example we had big cobras, that can kill you. I’m living in the same ruin with A cobra, or perhaps many cobras. You don’t leave your food around, because then A mouse or rat comes, and after the rat comes a cobra. These kind of realities start to come out of observations.

For example, the ruins had quite a few bonsais. Bonsai is a tree that has found out that The human made environment is an environment where he can live. The same tree could grow 20m high just 10m away from the ruin. But when he is living in the ruin, for example in an empty windowsill that has little topsoil, he decides to stay 50cm. He knows how water is coming in and how the sun is circulated, but also how strong the structure of the bricks is. I have followed this process. He doesn’t grow, he stays there. You can scale these things up and down, but it takes a bit of time to observe them, and you need to be there, and you need to be normal, because research is not normal and design is not normal. When things become normal, then you actually start finding something real.

The only way to feel normal is with nature. The whole mindset of nature is about A constant exchange of energy, and you are part of that. If i really put my energy in nature, if i go skiing, build a fire, pick mushrooms, I feel this energy exchange and it makes me feel normal. When I am in the city I won’t do that. Maybe I can, but still I do not feel totally normal.

Do you think you can bring this feeling of normality to the cities somehow?

Not somehow but totally. The answer must be totally and that’s the Third Generation City. The city must become part of nature, and then this energy exchange and everything will be normal.

Ruin Academy / Nikita Wu

Ruin Academy /​Nikita Wu

It is about finding a balance?

…some sort of total chaos.

The Third Generation City is not something that we design. It is not an eco-​city. It should be more like an accident, some kind of jungle.

The main challenge is to start giving up. Industrialisation has become more dominant or more powerful in our minds than nature. We became a long time ago the servants of industry. Now architecture and urbanism is at this point where we must start opening up, we must start to give up in order for nature to step in. We think our mechanical reality is independent from nature, but that’s a joke.

The Third Generation City is not something that we design. It is not an eco-​city. It should be more like an accident, some kind of jungle. At the same time the whole system will be dying in one corner and in some other corner it will be coming up. There will be battle. It’s not a harmonious thing, it generates energy. Treasure Hill where I was working was very close to it.

You mentioned how illegal communities are using the official city. I wonder if an illegal city can exist without a legal one? Can a bottom-​up approach exist without a top-​down?

I think we need a constant revolution, especially in the city. If the city becomes too fixed and too official it is a pollution in itself, but when you have this constant revolution it becomes some sort of organic machine.

I think we need a constant revolution, especially in the city. If the city becomes too fixed and too official it is a pollution itself, but when you have this constant revolution it becomes some sort of organic machine. Whether this can be achieved with illegal communities or self-​organised communities, or bottom-​up communities, or peer to peer solutions, or whether the official plays any part in it, I don’t have the answer. I think they are all part of it, even the official, but it won’t be a linear process, and it won’t be a circular process. It has many layers, and these layers are not layered on each other, but rather overlapping, slicing each other. The places where slicing happens are where the energy points are – the hotspots, what we are talking about in urban acupuncture. How to interpret and understand that energy exchange or even information matrix is not easy, but it is probably an architectural task.

You talk about Third Generation Cities in the context of existing cities. What about new cities built without a context? Perhaps you could refer to the Asian conditions.

It’s hard to say what the Asian phenomenon is in general. I guess it is the same talk we had in Finland in the 70s, 80s, and even 90s, where people were moving to the cities from the countryside. They were forgetting original values, forgetting how to live together with nature, and becoming a city man. Asia is doing the same thing, but on a very, very big scale. We were doing a project in Shenzhen with some migrating workers. They all came from the countryside, and they were all so clever. They knew how to build with bamboo and different kinds of materials, but those same people were building skyscrapers that all look alike. This is a moment when hundreds of millions of people are moving into the cities. They are bringing local knowledge from the countryside to the cities, originating from different parts of the country. China would be really clever now, if it could start to really appreciate this movement from city to countryside and use the local knowledge pouring into the cities. From this perspective it could become a Third Generation City.

You talk about local knowledge accumulated from previous generations. It is interesting to think what kind of local knowledge our generation is producing. What will we leave for the future?

Very good question, probably nothing so far. … Looks like zero. It looks like the city is the end.

Really?

Yes, maybe through ruins there is some possibility. The ruins in this case become like the Zone in “Stalker”, but you need the Stalkers.

But on the other hand “Stalker” also shows that you walk in the ruins in order to find the answer. But to find the answer you need to ask the right question.

The Zone is just nature. We have been in the city for so long that we don’t even know how to go to the forest. You disappear, and therefore you need just a normal guy who can set up a fire and catch a fish.

You need a guide?

Yes, yes, architects should become the Stalker.

Stalker / Film by A.Tarkovsky

Stalker /​Film by A.Tarkovsky

Do you think a reversed scenario is possible: city man going back to nature?

I think that the big process is that most people will be located in the cities. They will be fed genetic food and will have such powerful information systems that you will be able to tell those people whatever you want. They will be completely dependent on social media. They will become this genetically manipulated information souls living in the city. But despite this mass of total uselessness they are still humans. They still have some basic human heart, and some strange good things will start coming out of that. Maybe that is the new local knowledge.

cialas cheap cialis canadian viagra generic cialis azithromycin tablet levitra generic what bacteria does ciprofloxacin kill viagra ohne rezept aus deutschland cialis vs viagra azithromycin azithromycin 5 day dose pack cialis free trial levitra without a doctor prescription discount cialis azithromycin and alcohol azithromycin for strep throat cialis for bph zovirax ointment lexapro dosage antibiotic ciprofloxacin women viagra finasteride medication discount viagra cialis samples what is lexapro finasteride for hair loss cipro drug class cialis dosage effects of stopping finasteride nolvadex viagra pills acyclovir dosage for cold sores viagra wikipedia ciprofloxacin side effects generic for cialis cipro and tendonitis how does cialis work what is cipro used for finasteride tablets lexapro bula is azithromycin viamedic cialis ciprofloxacin 500 mg for urinary tract infection what is tamoxifen levitra 10 mg prezzo is tamoxifen chemotherapy zithromax 500 mg viagra pillen kruidvat cipro dosage sex viagra for women online viagra daily cialis azithromycin without a doctor’s prescription vardenafil 20mg cialis patent expiration date extended what is lexapro used for viagra on line no prec viagra how to take cialis what is acyclovir for viagra bestellen tamoxifen side effects in women price cialis viagra single packs finasteride 5mg side effects mayo clinic cialis sample what is cipro cialis generic tadalafil finasteride side effects cialis canadian pharmacy generic cialis at walmart finasteride permanent side effects ciprofloxacin bnf ciprofloxacin uses how does lexapro work azithromycin for uti female viagra propecia side effects cialis patent expiration cialis 5mg daily levitra prices what is tamoxifen used for lexapro 10mg finasteride effets secondaires azithromycin 250 mg azithromycin pediatric dosing side effects of azithromycin 250 mg viagra for sale cialis cheap viagra coupons escitalopram nebenwirkungen cialis 30 day sample finasteride efectos secundarios is azithromycin penicillin zithromax antibiotic cialis 5 mg azithromycin liquid viagra soft cialis or viagra viagra price lexapro weight gain cialis daily cialis alternative viagra tablet finasteride and enlarged prostate finasteride vs dutasteride tamoxifen langzeitfolgen lexapro dosages ciprofloxacin side effects after age 60 revatio vs viagra levitra erfahrungen cialis online how to use viagra ciprofloxacin drug class what is ciprofloxacin prescribed for cialis patent expiration 2017 lexapro medication viagra receptfritt how to wean off lexapro side effects of tamoxifen what is azithromycin for azithromycin side effects lexapro dosing zoloft vs lexapro cipro antibiotics side effects of finasteride azithromycin 250 mg treatment acyclovir 400mg levitra 20 mg ciprofloxacin hcl levitra coupon lexapro side effects in women pfizer viagra coupons from pfizer cialis 30 day trial coupon generic levitra vardenafil 20mg finasteride dosage viagra alternatives viagra from canada finasteride 5 mg cialis coupons from manufacturer how to get off lexapro viagra vs cialis vs levitra side effects of acyclovir cialis vs viagra viagra cialis ciprofloxacin coverage azithromycin 250mg tablets 6 pack lexapro vs zoloft ciprofloxacin hcl 500 mg tab canada viagra acyclovir 400 mg wholesale cialis acyclovir medication viagra for women tamoxifen side effects order viagra viagra uk viagra coupon azithromycin 500 zovirax ciprofloxacin hcl 500 mg side effects cialis website acyclovir dosing viagra substitute natural viagra azithromycin for pneumonia viagra prices free viagra cialis on line escitalopram oxalate online cialis viagra generico acyclovir ointment 5 acyclovir ointment viagra side effects cialis professional azithromycin 500 erfahrungen viagra samples tamoxifen bijwerkingen acyclovir 200mg cialis 20 mg azithromycine eg 500 mg bijsluiter lexapro coupons escitalopram 20 mg cialis pills for sale cyalis cialis trial acyclovir vs valacyclovir viagra 100mg tablets retail price levitra finasteride hair loss lexapro withdrawal symptoms acyclovir for shingles ciprofloxacin dosierung finasteride 5mg azithromycin cost cialis cost cheap viagra acyclovir cream how does acyclovir work is ciprofloxacin a penicillin levitra vs viagra cialis prices levitra 20 mg von bayer azithromycin tablets what is finasteride used for generic lexapro azithromycine 250 mg lowest cialis prices side effects lexapro buy generic viagra what is azithromycin used for ciprofloxacin 500 lexapro and weight gain what is escitalopram viagra pill escitalopram side effects acyclovir 800 mg for shingles lexapro withdrawal zithromax dosage levitra vs viagra for hardness celexa vs lexapro free cialis cialis dosage recommendations lexapro azithromycin 500 mg cialis effects lexapro overdose azithromycin pregnancy what is finasteride finasteride side effects in men escitalopram 10 mg cialis coupon print thuoc azithromycin azithromycin class what is ciprofloxacin when will cialis go generic zithromax cialis tadalafil ciprofloxacin 500 mg utilisation viagra generic viagra how long for azithromycin to take effect cipro antibiotic ciprofloxacin dosage ciprofloxacin 500mg antibiotics side effects cipro side effects viagra dosage side effects of viagra viagra en ligne livraison 24h ciprofloxacin best price viagra zovirax cream what is cipro usually prescribed for tamoxifen and weight gain viagra without a doctor prescription usa ciprofloxacin for dogs acyclovir for cold sores viagra tesco what infections does ciprofloxacin treat what is cialis acyclovir side effects viagra 100 lexapro side effects in men azithromycin eye drops lexapro para que sirve viagra generic first few days on lexapro lexapro generic what is acyclovir used for levitra online viagra nebenwirkungen viagra tablets canada cialis propecia cipro viagra 100 mg lexapro and weight loss how long does viagra last what does ciprofloxacin treat cialis lexapro side effects azithromycin 250mg cilias herbal viagra ciprofloxacin used for ciprofloxacin hcl 500 mg viagra on line cialis 5mg ciprofloxacin 250mg what is lexapro for cipro side effects in elderly generic for lexapro ciprofloxacin hydrochloride viagra vs cialis vs levitra viagra cost cialis coupon 20 mg acyclovir 800 mg tamoxifen lawsuits finasteride for women buy generic levitra viagra medicine ciprofloxacin eye drops ciprofloxacin 500 mg tabletten cialis 20mg tamoxifen side effects in women over 55 effects of stopping lexapro suddenly azithromycine how much does cialis cost how to wean off lexapro without withdrawals cialis 20mg directions 200 cialis coupon how does viagra work what is viagra cipro dangers zovirax for cold sores viagra kaufen lexapro 5mg azithromycin drug class buying viagra viagra activate what does viagra do cialis canada azithromycin dosage tamoxifen therapy cipro uses cialis for men viagra without a doctor prescription what is ciprofloxacin used for ciprofloxacin 250 mg side effects of lexapro 10 mg side effects of finasteride 5mg zovirax dosage escitalopram 10 mg para que sirve lexapro vs celexa ciprofloxacin nebenwirkungen tamoxifen is lexapro a controlled substance viagra vs cialis finasteride 5mg side effects viagra for men side effects of azithromycin canadian cialis levitra 20mg azithromycin three times a week levitra coupons azithromycin 500mg azithromycin 250 viagra natural finasteride long term effects acyclovir dosage zovirax pills cealis viagra 100mg vardenafil vs viagra azithromycin pregnancy category cialis 10 mg weaning off lexapro ciprofloxacin spc levitra 20 mg precio farmacia equipe argentine viagra cialis dosage strengths levitra bayer 20mg meilleur prix finasteride results finasteride 1mg lexapro 20mg buy viagra online cialis pills viagra sex levitra prezzo in farmacia levitra dosage side effects of ciprofloxacin 500 mg finasteride wellbutrin and lexapro cialis from canada lexapro side effects men viagra vs cialis side effects of lexapro in women viagra alternative zithromax z-​pak acyclovir 800 mg 5 times a day finasteride reviews cialis price ciprofloxacin drops viagra costs cipro 500 cialis without a doctor’s prescription viagra 50mg how long for lexapro to work cialis coupon ciprofloxacin hydrochloride ophthalmic viagra online escitalopram effets secondaires cialis generic availability over the counter viagra tamoxifen interaction what does ciprofloxacin 500mg treat finasteride 5 mg tab lexapro benefits for women azithromycin vs erythromycin what is acyclovir lexapro vs wellbutrin levitra 20mg cost per pill viagra ohne rezept auf rechnung cialis generic cialis coupons tamoxifen cost buy cialis where to buy viagra acyclovir dose acyclovir azithromycin z pak cialis testimonials cialis medication generic levitra cialis discount ciprofloxacin class cialis samples overnight cialis coupons printable side effects of ciprofloxacin ciprofloxacin ophthalmic solution post finasteride syndrome side effects of lexapro viagra effects what does azithromycin treat lexapro and weight gain in women viagra sans ordonnance buy viagra tamoxifen citrate cost of viagra levitra 20 mg cost walmart escitalopram ciprofloxacin 500mg side effects of cialis common side effects of ciprofloxacin 500 mg cialis copay card lexapro generic name sophia viagra stopping lexapro tamoxifen nebenwirkungen cialis for daily use does lexapro cause weight gain tamoxifen and bone pain levitra rezeptfrei deutschland acyclovir 800mg cialis savings card viagra canada lexapro reviews azithromycin coverage pfizer viagra cheap levitra cialis reviews buy levitra buy cialis online ciprofloxacin 500mg tablets cialis for sale cialis pricing cialis voucher erectile dysfunction cialis 9 levitra at walmart generic viagra 100mg lexapro and wellbutrin combination therapy lexapro for anxiety tamoxifen and foods to avoid cialis pharmacy prices what works better than viagra cialis for women buy levitra online levitra vs viagra cialis side effects what does finasteride do cialis otc ciprofloxacin dose withdrawal from lexapro lexapro manufacturer website generic cialis tadalafil viagra wiki cost of cialis escitalopram 10mg lexapro 10 mg liquid cialis azithromycin medscape azithromycin uses finasteride 5mg tab ciprofloxacin 500mg antibiotics viagra for sale uk cialis coupons 2017 cipro for uti what is azithromycin ciprofloxacin side effects in women