Architect: Eduardo Cadaval & Clara Solà-Morales
Location: Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico
Collaborator: Eugenio Eraña Lagos
Structures: Ricardo Camacho de la Fuente
Construction Managment: Marcial Burgos & Hugo López Solano
Constructed Area: 350 sqm
Project Year: 2005-2006
Photograhs: Santiago Garcés / Cadaval & Solà-Morales
Where are the limits of materials? Are they in their apparently implicit properties or in our capacity to expand them?
A Fresh house for extreme weather that surpasses the standard limits of comfort of the city-dweller; a low-cost house requiring minimum maintenance; a house for any number of habitants, flexible in its uses and configuration; a house that can open up completely to the exterior or close in on itself; a beach house that can be built in a distant corner of the world. The high temperatures, the saltpeter, and the unskilled labor force determined the use of concrete. Bridges, breakwaters, and dams are also made in concrete, because of its structural capabilities and its resistance under extreme conditions. This was the architect’s starting point, and the tectonic and morphological possibilities of the material contributed to the formal definition of the project.
The section of the house, with its pronounced cantilevers, seeks to carry the expression of these qualities to the limit, but above all to adapt itself to the specific conditions of the context. Three elements are defined for three distinct conditions: a tower volume which, in search of the sea, interrupts its opacity at strategic points until it achieves complete openness at the level where nothing blocks its views over the Mexican Pacific; a second bedroom volume suspended over the water and the flowers of the garden; and a high, broad, airy, central space which distributes and channels the different activities going on in the house. These three elements merge into a single volume of uncertain scale and rough textures.
The great constructed exterior, forming a threshold under the imposing cantilever, is the most important space of the house, its central focus. It has all the characteristics and potential of a made-to-measure interior: connected with the spacious central core of the house, protected by the balance and rigor of the constructed object, but at the same time supplied with light, water, and air, close to the lush tropical vegetation and colors that contrast with the neutrality of the concrete. All of this, suspended in the hammocks, reinforces the solidity of the structure and the ease with which it is inhabited.
It is the experience of this interstitial space that defines the architectural intent of the design: life lived outside, in the open air, in community; a living photograph of the vital Mexican utopia, that is, a world of harmony, color, and nature, reflected in the swaying of hammocks and the pleasure of dolce far niente.