Dezeen Magazine

Chen House by C-Laboratory

Finnish architects C-Laboratory have completed a timber house on a cherry farm in the mountains of northern Taiwan.


Chen House is designed in response to the extreme weather that is common in the Datum Mountains, and is raised above the ground to allow flood water to run beneath it.


The house has a kitchen and bathroom unit, protruding from the main building, which provides support to the structure during the frequent typhoons and earthquakes that affect the area.


It is also designed to channel the cool breeze from the Datun river through the house and is raised off the ground to let flood water flow underneath.


A fireplace is used for cooking and provides heat in the winter.


Photos are by AdDa. Here's some text from C-Laboratory architects:



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.


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.


Viime yönä näin unessa hirvittävän myrskyn. Se riisti rakennustelineet paikoiltaan ja repi irti rautaiset liitokset. Kuitenkin, mikä oli puusta taipui ja säilyi.


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.


La nuit dernière, j'ai revé d'une tempete terrifiante. Elle a arranché les échafaudages et déchiré les assemblanges en fer. Ce qui était en bois a toutefois fléchit et a été conservé.


Im Traum heute Nacht. Sah ich einen grosen Sturm. Ins Baugerüst griff er. Den Bauschragen riss er. Den eisernen, abwärts. Doch was da aus Holz war. Bog sich und blieb.
- Bertolt Brecht


Location: Sanjhih, Taipei County, Taiwan
Site: 3890 m2 farm land, Datun Mountains
Building foot print: 138 m2
Interior space: 62,5 m2
Materials: mahogany, concrete
Completed: 2008


Architects C-Laboratory:
Marco Casagrande
Frank Chen
Construction work:
Marco Casagrande, Frank Chen, Shi-Ding Chen, Nikita Wu, Shu-Gi Bai
Local Knowledge:
Missis Lee