Construction: Gonzalo Tamez
Text description provided by the architects. Casa 9X20 takes it’s name from the dimensions of the plot where it is built. Located in an industrial warehouses area, which has been transforming into housing developments over the years, the house is part of a small development with barely a couple of streets and 70 available plots. Most of these plots have the same dimensions, except for those located in corners or defined by the topography of the site.
The built context of the area is defined mostly by houses that represent a similar housing concept, with few superficial changes on the facades (as a result of them being built by the same developer), and some others that target a more generic taste, always influenced by commercial architectural tendencies with saleable intentions in mind, which have been spreading all over the city in recent years.
The plot of the house is one of the last ones to be intervened in this development. The house is for one young family composed by a couple with 3sons. The house has now two complete levels and one incomplete level waiting for a future expansion, when the family requires more space.
The ground floor includes the social area and general services. This floor is defined as an open plan space, enclosed by a lateral patio-aisle, a large core of services, a backyard and the garage. An aisle of services is delimited from the main area by a large continuous piece of furniture, which organizes the interior space, giving service to both sides: the social area and the services aisle.
Both the furniture and the core services aisle hide storage and living spaces such as a bathroom and laundry. These spaces are enclosed behind a sequence of doors that form a white surface and solid volumes that create a contrast between this clear plane and the textures and colors of the constructive system used in the slabs and floors of the house. The second floor includes the private spaces of the house, such as the family living room, the main bedroom and two smaller rooms for the sons.
The third level is a rooftop terrace that can be occupied in the future as a playroom or a studio.
The built volume is illuminated by the light that filters through the lateral patio and the backyard that separate the house from the neighbor buildings, as well as by the stairs volume, used as a conductor to bring light from the street into the core of the house. In this way, the interior spaces always receive some kind of indirect natural lighting.
Contrasting with this, the facade presents a textured surface made with concrete blocks arranged to avoid an overheating of the front walls, providing shade to the facade’s surface at all times. This is used as a simple bioclimatic cooling strategy due to the southern orientation of the house’s front facade, which during most of the day receives direct sun radiation. This element is supported on the metallic structure of the house’s garage, a long I-beam that crosses the whole width of the plot.
This arrangement of order and equilibrium between elements (blocks and beam) turns into the distinctive identity of the house among all the neighbors’ forms and materials: concrete and metal.
Metal, represented in the use of the I-beam, and concrete, used in the front sequence made of blocks: two of the materials and formats most produced by the local industry.