Casa Peñas is located in the south Pedregal of Mexico City, from its origins, this area has been characterized by housing large single-family residences.
The house is developed in a land formed by black volcanic stone, so it was decided to use the stone product of the excavation, to build a large perimeter wall. Inside this great wall it encloses a private garden. The volumes that make up the project, are separated from said walls generating spaces, voids and lights. The different spaces of the house are turned towards the garden generating a dynamic relationship between the interior and the exterior, taking advantage of the introspective views of the project.
The main access from the street is composed of two volumes and a plane. On the left the main volume of the house, with its discreet, but imposing façade that looks out a long window. On the right a small volume crossed by a thin plane of natural steel that acts as access and garage.
Once inside, a sculptural set of planes frames the access, from here a water mirror forms the path of the pedestrian. Upon entering the main volume of the house, we find a double height, which connects both levels covered with a pergola made of glass and steel. At the back of the space a steel stairway unfolds with an imposing geometry.
On the left side, the family area of the house, study and kitchen. On the right side, the central space of the house flanked on both sides with large windows. Towards a side, a marble corridor that connects with the terrace, covered by a volume in cantilever and then the central garden, towards the other side a water mirror adorned with vegetation that generates a visual finish that crowns the spatial sensation of the house. In the background a bathroom that hides a secret garden inside; natural steel on the outside and white concrete on the inside.
On the top floor, a large corridor connects a family studio and a series of bedrooms, facing the street, the master bedroom with a large dressing room and bathroom, towards the back of the site, the studio and three more bedrooms.
Additionally, the house has a basement accessed through an English patio. A series of concrete steps are born from the wall to generate the staircase. Downstairs the service spaces of the house are lived with much amplitude and natural light.
The sculptural quality and precision of stroke, use and program, give the house its modern and forceful character, the use of a limited palette of materials used in a natural and apparent way give a sophisticated and refined sensation. The extraordinary quality of the workforce, together with the sophistication of the techniques and construction details, stand out in this project.
The project was carried out taking into account the integral sustainability.
The use of solar energy and rainwater collection was incorporated, as well as a rigorous study of sunlight, to achieve excellent lighting and natural ventilation throughout the project, as well as a gardening design that takes up 70% of the surface of the land. Additionally, the material product of the excavation was used for the construction of the perimeter wall of the house.
The architectural program of the project and the needs of the client were the starting point. The local regulations required a 70% free area, so we opted to solve the program in three plants: A basement containing service areas and equipment and two additional floors above the level of the sidewalk. This spatial distribution allowed the arrangement of the project in an "L" composition: A volume parallel to the street, intersected by another one of two floors, perpendicular to the first.
Once the program in the plant was solved, the project was developed in section to be able to enrich it spatially. So it was decided that the main volume, composed of two floors, also had a full empty "L" shape. Thus, in front of the land, this volume is formed by an apparent concrete mass of two levels, from which comes a body that seems to float on the garden to obtain a very wide spatial sensation that takes advantage of the width of the land in its entirety .
In this way, below this volume is the living room, suspended by very thin columns of natural steel and tempered glass. The volume rests on a small steel cube that intersects it generating a half bath, and then a cantilever that flies over an outside terrace. The volume remains thus, free of contact with the perimeter wall, whose rough appearance of the volcanic stone contrasts against the white concrete.
An interesting detail was the solution of the volume that covers the terrace, it is a large cantilever that flies over it. The facade of this volume, has large windows from floor to ceiling that prevented the traditional structural solution for these elements. It was so, that a steel reinforcement was chosen with rod tensioners inside the walls, so that no structural element would come out of the walls or through the openings. This brings a very special feeling of lightness since the volume seems to float on the terrace.
The construction process consisted of two stages mainly. First, an excavation was carried out to generate the basement space. Here, the material for the construction of the fence was obtained: a black volcanic stone of excellent quality for construction. This process was handmade, because although machinery was used for the excavation, the wall was made with this stone carved by hand. Large stones were also recovered to incorporate into the design of the garden.
Subsequently, the foundation of the house was supported on the rocky terrain. Later, the walls were cast in reinforced whit concrete and apparent finish. The house is complemented with some steel elements with natural finish. This generates a contrast with the concrete and the stone wall. In this way, all project materials are applied in their natural state and apparent finish so that the construction process is very visible to the final result of the project.
Ignacio Urquiza Seoane and Bernardo Quinzaños Oria established the architecture studio Centro de Colaboración Arquitectónica in 2008. Starting on 2019, Ignacio Urquiza establishes Ignacio Urquiza Arquitectos, while Bernardo Quinzaños takes charge of the operation of CCA. Ignacio Urquiza studied photography in Paris, France (2002) and holds an MS in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University, New York (2014). Until 2018, Ignacio led CCA as Design Director. Bernardo Quinzaños began his career in the visual arts and has participated in numerous architecture and art exhibitions both in Mexico and abroad. He has worked on a wide range of projects in the fields of architecture, sustainability, and technology. In 2017, Ignacio and Bernardo achieved the Luis Barragán Prize for Young Architects of the CAM-SAM Awards and the Emerging Voices 2019 Award, given by the Architectural League of New York.
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