Rising out of a vacant lot like a bulbous cocoon, Marco Casagrande’s “Cicada” pavilion enlivens an open public square in Taipei. The Finnish architect created the beautifully unfurling space from yards of open woven bamboo. The organic cocoon structure offsets the concrete urbanism that has become synonymous with Taipei, providing a place for passersby to relax and congregate.
Located in a highly industrialized area of Taipei, Marco Casagrande’s “Cicada” is a sustainable structure set amidst a modest park in the urban area. Literally sandwiched between roadways and elevated tracks, the green space is an uncommon infusion of trees and grass for the area. Building on that unusual pairing, Casagrande sought to create a structure that appears to be just as out-of-place – both in terms of time and materials.
Cicada is made from a framework of bent bamboo that was slowly built up and woven like a basket. Emerging from a base of dirt and rock gravel, the cocoon curves with criss crosses of dried bamboo strips. Ivy, planted at the base of the structure, slowly climbs up the sides, weaving its way in between the bamboo strip louvers. As the ivy grows, Cicada will look more displaced – like a native hut from another land or time.
As visitors walk inside, the industrial urbanism of Taipei slowly fades away. Rustic benches and a small fire pit are arranged inside the swooping structure on a bed of mixed white rocks and concrete. The ivy and bamboo walls allow light to filter inside, blurring the surrounding cityscape. The bamboo also creates shady area inside, while keeping a connection with the sun. Elliptical skylights are woven into the ceiling, allowing air to rise out, and giving the interior a view of the moon at night. The skylight also functions like a chimney, allowing smoke to pass through when the fire pit is lit. The smoke also communicates with the urban landscape outside.
Marco Casagrande’s Cicada infuses a breath of organic sustainable architecture in an otherwise stifling concrete area. Area residents and visitors alike can take a break from city life and relax inside the bamboo walls.