Award of Merit at the AZ Awards 2019
Category: Residential Architecture Single Family
The project consists in the programmatic and spatial extension of a Porfirian-era house in the Roma neighborhood. It’s a collaboration between two architecture firms; LUDENS contributes an obsession for imagining an occupied space that gives rise to inhabiting habits, while manada provides an assembly knowledge. Together they produce strategies that allow for parallel building of efficiently articulated structures, which in turn make room for open spaces that are not completely defined, but are merely potentialities.
The house’s existing structure is weak; still, reinforcing it is beyond the project’s scope. We propose a light superimposed structure, standing on top of the two existing volumes. It must be lightweight and of minimal contact. We imagined an insect gently posed on the body, whose skeleton is the metallic structure. With it, the body of the space is conformed. The heights are generous to highlight a feeling of lightness. The new volumes can be conceived as a pair of bees attached to the house, living on top of it, but giving something in return.
In order to enjoy the view, you must go to the top. What about the journey? The stairway connecting the existing house with the new structures turns around to make the most of the house’s perspectives. The first flight places the subject in front of a triple-height patio, covered in tropical plants. A second flight peeps out to a monumental pine. The third one makes the main bee visible: with its galvanized steel sheets, there is a stark contrast with the rest of the house as it appears to blend into the sky. The stairway itself is built with wood that is painted black on the outside; on the inside, the wood retains its natural finish. The color contrast is evident at every turn of the staircase. Its sculptural playfulness becomes obvious.
The bee’s main volumes are perceived as urban summerhouses. The interiors are covered top to bottom with wood. The resulting atmosphere subtly refers to Nordic cabins. On the outside, the volumes are covered with galvanized steel sheets that reach out to adjoining walls. The bees stop feeling as an imposition and offer in turn an efficient cover for the house. A symbiosis takes place. The existing house provides support, while the new volumes acoustic and thermal protection. The joint effort between both firms is reinforced in the process: a symbiotic collaboration that becomes imperceptible once the structural and assembly conditions become a priority over the atmosphere and the spatial experience. Articulating a detail or material affects daily habits. An unfolding takes place. Light structures are perceived as rooted, distance is linked, extension turns intimate, the membrane separating inside and outside is blurred; going from one place of the house to another is like changing clothes, continuously, while keeping a personality. The notion of the house is extended: is becomes more of a house as there are more chances to inhabit it.
Manufacture: LAINVENCIBLE.ORG / Construction: CONSTRUCCIÓN PATENTE / Existing house = 424.47 m2 / Project = 246.12 m2 / Fittings to the existing house = 201.54 m2 / Total construction = 670.59 m2 / Status: Completed / Location: Roma Norte, Mexico city, Mexico / Photography: Jaime Navarro