Project Name: Casa para ver al cielo/House to see the sky
Architects: Abraham Cota Paredes Arquitectos
Collaborators: Arq. Álvaro Beruben Galván, ESTUDIO HIDALGO
Location: Guadalajara, Mexico
Built Area: 229 sq m
Project Year: 2016
Photos: Onnis Luque
Structural Engineer: ROMVIR Engineering Ing. Román Virgilio
“The idea of architecture is to create little private or public universes, universes where you can either interact with what already exists, or isolate and become part of a more private world.” -Abraham Cota Paredes Arquitectos
The design firm Abraham Cota Paredes Arquitectos, led by Abraham Cota Paredes is a team that believes that creating good architecture is a result of the constant relation between the client’s aspirations along with the architect’s pursuit. Emphasizing on their need to create architecture that is minimalistic and clean, functional and geometric, in character and proportion along with a sense of uniqueness. Their work ‘House to see the sky’ is an amalgamation of a cohesive design language merged with elements that reflect their Mexican identity. Working cohesively with their clients; their ideology is reflected through proportions and intentions, space and vegetation, intimacy and color, but primarily by life.
“The house expresses the search for an introspective architecture, an architecture that is enveloped in itself, where intimacy is the maximum gift” –Abraham Cota Paredes Arquitectos
Located in the outskirts of the forest of the spring, in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico; the house expresses the quest for an insightful design solution playing with the concepts of seclusion and disclosure, openness and closeness, form and geometry. The design philosophy echoes the need to generate introspective spaces which forge a deeper, visceral connection to the land and the sky; hence appropriately named as ‘the House to see the sky’.
The design of the structure breaks away from the archetypal notion of houses within the traditional, gated community of Guadalajara; building a minimalistic design solution while also forging intimate connections with the element of light, breeze and vistas. The intent was to design an abode which experimented with the amount of privacy and quality of openness that a user could enjoy within the premise.
To maximize privacy while also avoiding views of the street and the garage, a concrete screen wall was built along the front. With an outwardly robust appearance and a single slit along its façade, this wall skillfully conceals the intimate spaces within the house but from the entrance, it piques your interest to unravel what it hides within.
The screen wall encloses within itself an interior garden space that becomes the heart of the house into which all the living spaces can overlook. While reflecting upon the idea of an open pavilion surrounded by landscape, the garden space wraps around the house adding a delicate playfulness, letting day and night to seep into the internal spaces.
In response to the immediate context; the zoning, functional planning of the spaces and their distribution, follows the orientation of the terrain: west –east. Hence, the allocation of functions was distinctively done across separate bays. To maximize the amount of morning light and heat received,the living and dining spaces were positioned towards east, while the services were oriented along the west and north of the house.
The large sliding window along the living space allow a discrete interaction with the garden space and maximizes the opportunity for daylighting. The lower level consists of the living and dining area separated away from the service areas by the staircase. The staircase remains hidden, hedged in between walls, while also creating a divide between the private and public spaces of the house.
The upper level houses the private spaces including bedrooms, bathroom and an informal seating space with tactfully positioned openings to overlook onto the lower level garden space. The perimeter wall along the upper level appears to be floating, as it extends and hovers over the garden space and the garage, adding a sense of lightness to its mass. Enclosing the house in itself, this perimeter wall complies the user to look up to the sky and discover the relationship with the ground floor garden.
To obtain a clean solution for the structural design, lacking any vertical members, the screen wall became the main structural element of the house. The upper level perimeter wall is supported over the concrete screen wall in a manner, so as to produce the effect that most of the weight of the house rests on the right end of the wall.
The stark geometric massing and the composition of the rectilinear form in elevation is a formal result of this overlap of two parallelepipeds, with carefully placed opening to frame vistas. The union of the two entities, both the screen wall and the perimeter wall, in elevation follows the proportions of the golden ratio. The thin slit in the front façade divides the concrete wall into two, just where the square of the golden rectangle is delimited.
The house catches you from the exterior with its unmitigated form, drawing you in as you cross the threshold of the screen wall floating above you, making you discover the intimacy and honesty of the spaces. You are surrounded by an architecture that seems to want to envelop you and forces you to explore it further.
-Surabhi Verma, Volume Zero.