Valle House / Sebastian Mariscal Studio

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Architect: Sebastian Mariscal Studio
Location: Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California, Mexico
Designer & Builder:
Design Team: Sebastian Mariscal & Jorge García
Structural Engineering: Omar Mobayed
Area: 350 sqm
Project year: 2004
Photographs: Hisao Suzuki


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SURROUNDINGS

This weekend single-family dwelling is located in the Valley of Guadalupe in Baja California, Mexico.

The valley, known for its wine production, is surrounded by amber-colored mountains and pierced by dirt roads continuously winding between vineyards and olive trees. These surroundings serve as visual lines and filters that lead to the property and extend through the house. Thus, the project is born from the dialog with its natural settings, in contrast with the intensity of weekly urban life.

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LOCATION

The property is comprised of seven lots that meet around a vineyard. The access road of each plot crosses the outer periphery of the site through a field of olive trees, which generates a visual filter towards the house and the vineyard. With the olive trees extending to the house, we generated the first element – a curtain, 54 m long and 3m high, with a few perforations that frame the views on the other side of this semi-public boundary. Acting as the main axis, this stonewall is placed parallel to the vineyard and perpendicular to the existing rows of olive trees that cross the house.

SPATIAL ARRANGEMENT

The lineal arrangement of paces: public (surroundings), semi-public (gravel patio), private (living area) and intimate (bedrooms), creates a visual succession. The connection between spaces is always outside, so that the natural surroundings define the boundaries of the house and provide a changing sensory experience between day and night, cold and hot.

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The series of spaces are organized along the stonewall, opening to the views and the breeze from the vineyard, further emphasized by the roof that flies over the house. The idea of the roof was born at the first visit to the site with the desire to provide great shade, framed views and cross ventilation.

Eliminating the front door, the entrance is defined between the swimming pool and the rows of olive trees, creating a terrace that naturally integrates with the living/dining/kitchen area by opening the glass doors of the living space to the outside, where the swimming pool injects life and the views – peace and freshness.

In addition to the series of boundaries mentioned above – public (olive trees) and semi-public (stonewall), the swimming pool provides yet another threshold between the private and intimate spaces. Inspired by an old legend, the threshold is crossed by a wooded bridge that takes to a narrow corridor at the guest’s tower, leading to the f lower garden and the bedrooms. The house rests on top of a gravel bed that serves as a base and also eliminates dust, common in this region.

Cite: "Valle House / Sebastian Mariscal Studio" 25 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 Nov 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=30011>
  • http://www.twitter.com/tgphipps Terry Glenn Phipps

    These photographs are quite nice and give a favorable impression of an imaginative work of architecture. That excellent presentation suffers from the lack of a plan that would helped viewers better understand what we are looking at.

    In particular I like the relationship between the stone wall and the wedge shaped roof. The proportions overall are superb, as is the rhythmic layout of objects along the circulating wall.

    I am always interested in circulation over water, especially when it is associated with ritual meaning (as it always is in the architecture of Oscar Niemeyer, for example). Reference to a folk tale is made in the description, and I would have loved to have heard what that is?

    Some of the details seem like they could have gone a bit further. The use of corrugated is terrific, unexpected in this architecture, and nicely executed. However, the fenestration looks cheap in some places, most of all in the guest tower. The main shot, showing the stone wall and a corten cube pierced by two windows really accentuates the awkward juxtaposition between good architecture, mostly nice materials, and these windows.

    Also, I am left wondering if there aren’t too many materials. A more restrained palette of corten and corrugated might have been better, leaving off the horizontal wooden cladding. Personally, I just feel that this is one material too many, taking away from the formal power of the architecture.

    It seems to me that a building of this quality deserves some kind of modern lighting system. For example, a neon illuminating strip embedded in the lip of the flying roof (a la Neutra) would have added immeasurably to the elegance of the building. There is nothing really wrong with what is here, but it could have been more with better lighting.

    Lastly, I find the little fountain imbedded in the pool inappropriate. It isn’t enough of a fountain to really count. It is hard to understand what this detail is meant to contribute to the whole.

    Overall, this is a terrific project. The studio is developing a design language that is very persuasive.

    Terry Glenn Phipps
    http://web.me.com/tgphipps

  • Sabir

    Very Nice :)

  • faafafa

    the comparision of 2 cubes are interesting

  • http://lemur14.deviantart.com Troy Lemieur

    Where are the plans? Why do we have sections and elevations but no plans?

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  • http://www.ess.com The Ess

    Such a lovely house, a bit flat but engaging the views nicely, very good.

  • http://www.sunflowerdesigns.hu/ Andrew Geber

    its perfect for the scenery