LocationSan Pedro, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Design TeamKenji Rivera, Samuel Contreras, Alain Navar, Julia Briones, Dolores Maximino, Antonio Flores, Marisol Barrios.
Text description provided by the architects. A residence designed for a beautiful family, for whom most important of all is the experience of spending time together and enjoying the art of living. The penthouse is a fully functionalcanvas that adapts to the user; the project is conceived as a series of scenarios for social events.
Spatial requirements are achieved in two interconnected levels: social, at the lower level, and a private upstairs, both articulated by a central staircase and mezzanine, with strategic windows to accomplish great views in all 360º. Chipinque is located south of the building, Mississippi Park to the north, Cerro De La Silla to the east and Cerro De Las Mitras to the west, with a view of La Huasteca in the horizon.
Inside, a double-height living room greets visitors into the apartment. Immediately after, the central hallway leads to the kitchen. This is not a regular kitchen: it is designed and super-equipped for two professional chefs (father and daughter), to explore new flavors and dishes. The central island is large enough to accommodate the whole family, but the kitchen also opens to an exterior terrace with a firewood furnace and a breakfast table for 6 people, protected by a series of hydroponic pots specially designed for this project, where users can grow spices for their own consumption.
The main dining room shares the space with a grand piano and the connection to the main terrace. Within the smaller, south-east-facing terrace, a huge body of water reflects light flashes in the morning. In addition to its integration with the outside, this level has the ability to change in seconds and adjust the privacy through two huge movable walls. These allow the user to close the kitchen or secondary TV room with the least amount of effort while maintaining spatial harmony. Art and lighting were the subject of arduous study and discussion. Lighting is on par with the best museums in the world, designed to accentuate the many colors and details of the pieces on display.
Interior and exterior spaces blend through the sliding glass doors and, on the main terrace, a natural environment promotes gatherings. Once outside, the outdoor dining area becomes the social center and is complemented with a fitted bar, including a full outdoor kitchen, refrigerator, ice machine, storage space, sink, gas fireplaces, space for firewood, a pot for large magnolias and a small hydroponic planter rack. The westward side has a view of spectacular sunsets, but due to the location, this facade suffers from great insolation. As a work of structural engineering and mechanical manufacturing, a lightweight and efficient sun screen opens via a steering wheel and a mechanical transmission, giving versatility and adaptability to the space.
The protagonist element in the space is the staircase: this centerpiece of the apartment is an irregular-cut sculpture that allows vertical movement, a real constructive feat.
Upstairs, the mezzanine functions as a meeting and working space, with both a leisurely and serious character. This is the only space that has a big screen TV, which allows for a private mood and maintains audiovisual communication with the double height of the living room and natural light from the north. The bedrooms are distributed in the remaining area, allowing them all to have natural lighting and ventilation. The younger daughter's room stands out for it's conceptual value and level of detail. Given that she's passionate about dance and heights, the furniture is designed to be hanging from the ceiling.
The materials used throughout the apartment are natural woods protected with essential oils, and crude steel and ceramics in different formats and presentations, which allow each material to speak and work for itself. Thanks to a thorough, cross-engineering process, the project achieved ceiling heights over 3m (~10 ft) on both levels, well above the 2.7m (~9 ft) suggested by the developer. Also, special fixtures were designed to standardize the necessary space for shutters and air conditioning vents, all with clean elements and a uniform architectural language.