Casa BS was built upon a relatively flat, treeless area. Unlike most of Tapalpa, which is covered with lush coniferous forests, the landscape surrounding the house appears alien; colored in ochres and sepias, and sprinkled with boulders and patches of high grasses. The building rests on a hill overlooking a ravine which descends to a small lake, and offers uncanny views of a vast plain and the mountains beyond.
At first glance, the house appears as a horizontal stone-clad volume half buried in the ground. Our goal was to obstruct the views of the land as little as possible, hence the building’s discreet disposition as it conforms to the terrain.
The front façade, which faces north, displays a rather solid character. It is only partially visible behind a stone retaining wall which is cut at the center by a wide stair that provides access to the property. The steps land on an open passageway which runs between the house and the retaining wall as it steps down in response to the changes in topography. This open space is flanked by a row of trees that will conceal the architecture when fully grown. The rear façade of the house consists almost entirely of operable full height windows that allow for great views and increased thermal comfort inside the building.
The program is resolved in two large blocks, separated by a transversal corridor that follows in the direction of the front steps and splits the house right down the middle. The west block contains all the public areas of the house. The living, dining and kitchen spaces are all clustered on a single ample space which in turn bleeds out into a terrace and a game room. The garage, pantry, laundry room and all other service and auxiliary spaces are located at the far end of this block. Many of the interior as well as exterior partitions throughout the house are in fact operable and can be hidden from sight to connect all the public program.
The east block, on the other side of the central corridor, contains the dormitories and descends gradually with the terrain while maintaining enough distance from the ground to allow visual privacy for all rooms. The sleeping quarters include three bedrooms and a master bedroom which stands as a discrete volume, detached from the rest of the house. The house stands stealthily in its environment and displays an almost archeological character next to the boulders that lie in the surrounding fields. The project uses regional materials and is clad almost entirely with dry stacked flagstone. The parota millwork, stone floors and the exposed structural steel elements complete the house’s material palette. The volume containing the master bedroom is clad with a steel sheet skin and gives off a tarnished gloss which sets it apart from the opaque, rugged nature of the rest of the house.