This house is located on the tropical coast of Yucatan, Mexico, its keynote idea being to confuse the borders existing between the "inside" and the "outside". This duality gives rise to surprises and a constant awareness of situations occurring outside. Movement (motion) becomes particularly important, as does the change from day to night and the changing of seasons.
In order to converge with the outdoors, the architectural layout is created from a rectangular prism where sections have been removed thus creating "open spaces or courtyards". These five inner courtyards are the architectural sources of the house. Through these, the indoor spaces benefit from natural lighting during the day, as well as cross-ventilation and privacy due to the walls that extend out and which add privacy.
The heart of the project is made up of two adjacent courtyards containing a fountain, and monolithic stairs leading up to a panoramic viewpoint. Both are separated by a covered walkway which opens out into a "T-shape" and that connects the private area with the service and social areas. In this area, one can enjoy the constant changes in light and shadow that occur during the day, and the babbling of running water in the background.
The other courtyards which act as "lungs" have different architectural treatments, such as high value texture-wise and visual-wise stone walls which contrast with the smooth indoor surfaces, bamboo-panel deck coverings, or courtyards that simply open completely up to the sky. Pre-existing palms along with coastal endemic vegetation were also preserved.
The indoor social area is a single space that combines the living, dining and kitchen areas. There are two outdoor sitting-area terraces that complement the house: one at ground level and one at the panoramic viewpoint. These spaces were designed as light, airy, ethereal environments, with bamboo-panel deck coverings that allow for shadows to filter onto the floor and walls in constant motion during the day.
This project is designed as a residential dwelling where there is peace and quiet, where movement is expressed through sensory experiences: light, shadow, texture, surprise, breeze, reflections, aromas, babbling water and birds singing
Sustainable features and aspects of the Project:
- Cross-ventilation in all areas, using a mixed system of louvered windows and sliding glass-pane windows. - Effective use of natural lighting during the day. - Making use of the regional work-force available and materials characteristic to the region. - Effective use of rainwater from the roofs for household use. - Wastewater treatment based on a biodigester (anaerobic digester) with zero subsoil pollution. - Incorporation of regional endemic vegetation that require little maintenance and watering. - Reuse latticework-type block walls preexisting on the perimeter of the property in an effort to extend their life cycle. - Closure of the west side of the property with a coconut-palm rod fence, and a mesh-type weave using local artisan techniques. - Use of sustainably exploited regional bamboo panels for the outdoor deck-covering areas. - Architecture requiring low maintenance over time. -Comprehensive use of "chucum" for final finish work on ceilings, walls and floors in order to achieve a more uniform appearance, as well as removing paint and other non-energy efficient and highly toxic finishes. - Strategic placement of service areas such as bathrooms, corridors/hallways, and stairways in such a way that their location forms a thermal cushion for enhancing environmental comfort in the greater-used areas. - Use of constant pressure and variable speed water recirculation systems for greater energy savings.