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Zen Philosophy House Architectural Memory

Complete Project

The initial challenge for the design of this house consisted on achieving a proposal that breaks up with the space disposition traditional orthogonal rigidity outline for this type of housings in limited-size lands without perturbing their functional concept.

The main objective was then to completely fade out the space restrictions to the point of transforming them into a design opportunity, from which, by means of artifices, to be able to attenuate the external limits, creating wider-space sensations accompanied by exceptional visual of the gardens linked to the interior in a harmonic and stimulating relationship.

The project takes from the Zen philosophy the necessary elements to base its function and rational use of the space with a pluralistic modernity proposal, this way, concepts such as purity and simplicity, light, east-west fusion, asymmetry, angles and abstractions, screens overlooking all roads, communion between the external and interior, ponds and rocks, begin taking a meaning of their own as they recreate the script that gives life to a succession of minimalists spaces whose form and function maintain their own identity, free of the banal ornament, to open the way to the formal purity of the volume and its relationship with the light.

The design outlines a 5-volume composition, the largest of which due to its longitude gives space to the service and intimate areas in a rectangular shaped surface with a southeast-northwest orientation in its longitudinal axis, parallel to that of the land. This volume is intercepted by another in scalene triangle shape whose axis (corresponding to its bisectrix) forms a 144º angle with regard to the first volume, having a north-south orientation. This corridor is defined by two natural stone-covered trapezoidal walls, which due to its considerable scale are part of the volumetric composition of the design. The floor surface consists of a wooden boarding, entering from the north (main entrance) being prolonged toward the south until literally perforating the house being the tip of its sharpest angle exposed to the exterior and finishing off in a small Zen garden. This tip is where the biggest volumetric game tension concentrates, besides being the point of flight of both walls, which in turn creates the illusion of a perspective that seems to be closing in the horizon that is metaphorically represented by a glass screen that allows the Zen garden to be seen, in that way the visual north-south is linked through the existent openings, being able to perceive this way the space with a liberating depth and width effect, artifice that is reinforced by the translucent polycarbonate cover that covers the whole complex.

The Zen garden is the star in the pond, it produces a superb contribution of sensations on projecting and observing the sky-reflected images, accompanied by the sound and movement that the small cascade coming from the stone wall produces, as if it were fed by an eternal spring. The winding stone roads, the low vegetation, and the bamboos next to the pond camouflaging the fencing wall with the purpose of creating the appearance of an infinite horizon, are strategically prepared to be the backdrop of one of the most important and stimulating visual images of this environment.

On each side of the lobby, and without facing each other, we find the living room and dining room, both maintaining a formal volumetric individuality.

The living room becomes a “glass box” where the glass facades enclose an interior scene that fuses itself with the exterior, the simple and purified resolution of the aluminum and glass screens and the steel pillars separated from the edges are able to transmit an extraordinary agility impression. Its orientation allows to keep the views to the southeast (back patio) and the northwest (street and main facade patio) this way a much wider vision of the external space, framed by the reduced limits of the land, is obtained. The glass walls maintain a continuous and harmonic dialogue between the gardens whose importance is even bigger than any resource of existent ornamentation inside this space, where the purity in the ways will not only capture the images and colors of the garden but also light and shadow changes that will take place during the day.
A line of trees located along the northeast limit of the land will protect the facade from the incidence of the morning sun, and in turn will prevent the neighbors from looking in.

The dining room area is presented toward the main facade as one of the most important parts in the volumetric composition, the imposing glass facade that faces the street is contained by two walls; the lobby’s stone wall and a third white-colored wall also trapezoidal, which limits with the service area and garage. This volume’s peculiar characteristic consists of its inclined aluminum panel roof in scalene triangle shape, which breaks up with the predominant horizontality of the slabs, granting a dynamic movement to the whole group whose composition would not be balanced without the presence of the terrace roof, which is identical in form and size to that of the dining room but set as if it were a mirror image of the first one, this way both acute angles face as low point that of the dining room, and as high point that of the terrace, increasing this way the tension caused in the flight point of the entrance corridor walls. This roof covers, besides the terrace, the interior corridor that leads to the rooms. In the tip that is overlapped over the living room slab, there are some openings or skylights due to the roofs’ level difference, which will be controlled to improve the natural ventilation of the house.

The terrace consists of a wooden boarding accessed from the corridor that leads to the rooms or from the living room. As a result of the composition of volumes and planes whose angles open up in a radial way toward the main facade, this will bear a great communicative load that seems to be in constant movement, since it will offer the spectator different perspectives, as the view point varies, they will also vary radically with the changes of light.