Different levels vary structural density and materials to create interesting volumes
This project is located in the Lomas of Chapultepec neighbourhood in Mexico City. The house is on a site surrounded by high walls of adjacent properties of and a front that opens up into a wooden ravine. The verticality of the project, along with the existence of an adjacent construction of greater height, forced ZDA architects to think about alternatives to the first level so there would be adequate natural lighting. This was achieved by using different skylights and oculus windows. An intervention on the topography of the site was made in order to generate a ‘tabula rasa’, then by stacking two boxes on this platform, first in a negative direction and then in a positive.
When entering the site, on the left hand side three steps lead to a piano area, dining room, kitchen, wine cellar and service areas. Three steps further down from this level, on the right hand side is the living room; contained and submerged between two dissimilar open-air spaces that make it their meeting point. At the end of a courtyard a spring flows from a stone block while being surrounded by tall walls that seem to protect the area. The living room allows an interaction between both spaces through the floor to ceiling windows which fold and stack to one side, letting the air circulate.
On the second level there is a gym, bedroom, and study which have views towards the green talus, the wooden ravine and the garden whose concrete inhabitants, the ocular windows, this time allow views inward. The gym room shares both the neutral and zen atmospheres of the courtyard on the first level.
Without losing the consistency each level is distinguished due to its structural density: the ground floor, which receives the greatest vertical load, is composed of reinforced concrete walls with an unfinished, natural texture; the second level is structured by means of rigid frames; and the third is a three-dimensional ‘cage’ or Vierendel truss that also works to support the great clearings and cantilever. Sunlight on the third level is controlled by a steel and wood lattice that offers protection without compromising the views of the wooden ravine from the front. This new house contains the soul of a classic one.