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CATKIN_IGNORE is a bit underdocumented, but the tutorial you link actually seems to contain the answer to your question:

CATKIN_IGNORE         -- Keeps catkin from walking this directory

In other words: a CATKIN_IGNORE file in the build directory makes Catkin (ie: catkin_make, catkin_make_isolated, but also catkin from catkin_tools) ignore that specific directory.

This works for other directories as well.

Related REP: REP-128: Naming Conventions for Catkin Based Workspaces.

Related ROS Answers question: #q208180.