Taipei, Taiwan

Red hair soil

To understand the mixture of cement the Dutch used to build their forts in Taiwan equals understanding the four ingredients; sugar, rice, sand and shells. How do these ingredients become cement? We’re unable to retrace a written recipe of how to create the cement and decided to create ­taxonomic workspace at BCS making a test block of cement. We were learning how to burn oyster shells for the chalk, cooking rice glue, extracting sugar from the cane and collecting different sands in the landscape in order to test different recipes. Our studio turned into a experimental miniature factory for pre industrial cement. Parallel to our process into the materiality of the cement we approached En-Yu Huan, a professor in history of architecture, that knows all about the old Dutch settlements and forts. We met En-Yu in An-Ping, a village close to Tainan where the remains of the former Dutch fort Zeelandia lies. Here we could compare our samples of cement with the 17th century made cement. The resemblance was quite striking.