Interview with Marco Casagrande

Marco Casagrande, is a Finnish architect, professor and writer, in 2003 he established C-Lab. I first became aware of Marco with his work Land(e)scape, a dramatic architectural installation designed to draw attention to the plight of the Finish countryside. Casagrande’s cross-over architectural work encompasses the realms of architecture, urban and environmental planning, environmental art, circuses and other artistic disciplines.


Land(e)scapes – Savonlinna Finland

C-Lab seeks to enforce an architecture of accidents. Instead of pursuing ever-present support of harmony, they oppose and look out for the state of confusion and the possibilities of accidents. They believe that in such circumstances something new and unforeseen can happen.

I recently interviewed Marco who is in search for subconscious architecture, real reality and connection between the modern man and nature. He believes that one shall not be blindfolded by stress, the surroundings of economics and the online access to entertainment or information. What is real is valuable. Below are Marco’s responses:

Archi-ninja Interview’s Marco Casagrande

1. Which of your projects has been the most rewarding and why?

MC: Many of the projects have been very rewarding. Land(e)scape was as the first project to reach architectural scale and being able to hold on to your original idea, protect your architecture and burn it. This project also presented me the essence of being present in art.

2. Your recent project, Chen House, received a World Architecture Award in 2008. What aspects of Chen House do you think contributed to winning the award?

MC: Beauty. Also the thinking of ruin.


Chen House – Sanjhih Taiwan

3. How do you think architecture will change in the next 50 years?

MC: Architecture will start acting more as a mediator of a larger conversation between different disciplines and sociological layers. Architecture will be design shamanism taking care of the connection between the modern man and nature. The development of the Third Generation City is interesting.

His theory of the Third Generation City views the post industrial urban condition as a machine ruined by human nature and architects as design shamans merely interpreting what the bigger nature of the shared mind is transmitting.

4. What changes would you like to see in the Architectural profession?

MC: Architects need forced labour in simple conditions. Mysticism, shamanism, punk, physicality and drama should hit back. Some sort of religious anger is needed to ruin the industrial city.

5. Do you think that Architecture tends to be trendy today?

MC: Trends and style is nonsense. No trends, no style – just architecture.

6. What would students learn from reviewing the body of architectural projects you have completed? Do you have any advice for upcoming students?

MC: Anybody gets anything he wants. Try to think, what do you want. Also accident is good.

7. What are you most proud of in your career or any aspect of life?

MC: I can feel nature.

8. Who do you think is the most overrated architect, and who do you think deserves more credit/recognition?

MC: MDRDV among many others is like a hair dressing saloon of architecture. Normal people should be recognized – no architect architecture. Also grandmothers are good.

9. What aspect of Architecture do you find most important? What is fundamental to your practice and your design process?

MC: To be present. One has to die a bit to be reborn.

10. What inspired you to become involved in Architecture? What inspires you now?

MC: Nature inspires me including human nature and architectonic beauty. Environmental drama.

11. What other interests do you have?

MC: Favourite places in the World: Enduro and Forest. Favourite Book: Heart of Darkness. Favourite Music: Motorhead.

12. What is your favourite time of the day, and why?

MC: After a good working day I deserve a beer.

13. What would be your ultimate design project?

MC: Mixture of a shopping centre and jungle.

14. What are you doing at the moment?

MC: Starting a new ultra-ruin in Taiwan.

15. Who would you most like to work with on a project?

MC: I want to design shelters in nature for honest people.


60 Minute Man – Venice Biennale


Car Park – Sensoria Melbourne Australia


7-11 Sauna – Taipei Taiwan 2007

I’d like to thank Marco for participating in the interview. If you are interested in being interviewed and featured on Archi-Ninja, please contact me.


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