Located in a privileged area surrounded by forests but still close to Guatemala city, the Casa Chinkara presents itself as a dual residence exploring the contrast between the natural and the man-made; between the primitive and the contemporary.
The house was imagined as a rock embedded in the landscape, an ethereal element that follows the order of the contour lines of the terrain. Inside it houses an art gallery that is an intimate space for contemplation; a container of experiences materialized in the various works of art that conform it. This rocky volume has been sculpted in such a way that it allows for light to come in through a skylight, and for the different interior spaces to flow right out into the natural landscape.
This stone volume acts as the heart of the building. Different rooms adhere, penetrate or are superimposed around the stone volume with each room contained inside different white volumes wrapped in ACM, an artificial material. ACM is counterpoised to the rock, symbolizing the intervention of man in the natural landscape of the project. As a result, the residence reads as a harmonious composition between terrain, rock, and man.
Even though the house could be read as a massive composition of volumes, from the inside each one of the rooms maintains a residential scale both intimate and human. The warmth of the wooden floors, the unpolished stone, the height of the spaces, and the ornamentation of all of these reinforces the idea of a good life, constantly inviting the residents to enjoy a sense of contemplation and intimacy.
The experience of the house towards the landscape creates a contrast to this introverted notion of the project. Except for the art gallery, each one of the rooms in the house is contained in a defined volume that opens towards the exterior integrating the richness of the natural life with the experiences contained inside the house. Huge glass windows with bright red frames are embedded into the volumes that make up the building denoting the intention of framing the landscape from the inside.
From the outside the house reads as a group of window displays that expose the interior spaces that compose it, along with the day to day experiences of its inhabitants. From the inside all of the activities of the residents are adorned by an exterior natural background conformed by different species of trees, animals, and sounds.
In conclusion, Casa Chinkara is more than a residence, it is an intermediary between the natural and the artificial; between the intimate and the external; between the massive and the impressive and the residential and familiar.