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Casa Ventura

Tatiana Bilbao

To suggest that a building can be like a tree is perhaps to risk a wildly organic metaphor. Organic architecture, with its roots in the structural designs of Frank Lloyd Wright and the didactic advocacy of Bruno Zevi, blossomed in the mid-20th century as architects attempted to facilitate a more responsible and more equitable society. In such architectural and planning proposals, each spatial element and each structural component plays a role vis-à-vis its immediate neighbors and, harbinger of our own ecological consciousness today, benefits from the daily rhythm of sunlight, views to nature, frank materiality, and sustainable economic practice.
The new residence realized by Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao on the hillsides above Monterrey is almost literally a treehouse.
The house emerges above the canopy of existing forest as an unapologetically concrete element, a tower structure that opens out on upper levels as a set of pod-like chambers each directed toward its particular prospect. This, then, is a building predicated on an idea of a structural core and the Structuralist idea of a community of forms. Each of these forms, or subsidiary forms, serves its programmatic purpose yet is achieved through an almost monolithic manipulation of a precise material palette used throughout the entire project.
Avoiding any obvious reference to traditional residential architecture, this new house by Bilbao may at first glance signal an industrial aesthetic. It is, however, too complex - too multivalent or multilateral - to be the result of any simple functionalism. It is primarily a home, a home for a young family that one imagines nesting here between the trees. Bilbao’s design also extends laterally, enabling the family to spread out inside this branching, pod-like form; to create routes and favorite shortcuts, both horizontally and vertically; and to inhabit private eyries with unexpected interior views (the house as viewing machine) and with...

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