Highly densely populated areas such as Barrio de Santiago in Yucatan, Mexico raise a difficult problem: the lack of space for building new homes. So when someone decided to build their own home, the most difficult part is finding a vacant lot. Then the architect is faced with the challenge of creating a custom project for that particular space which, most of the time, is very small and odd-shaped.
In the case of this residence, the site was small and positioned between two existing buildings. The lot is 6,5 meters wide and 27.5 meters long. The studio chosen for the project was Taller Estilo Arquitectura, a company founded in 2004 which aims at creating spaces for the modern, 21st century person and perceives architecture as being a blend of art and science.
The company usually works with regional materials and allows them all to express their unique characteristics. The studio believe that an architect’s job is to make the most of the materials they work with and to create architecture which provokes emotion.
Sometimes referred to as the “Raw House”, this structure offers a total living space of 150 square meters and was completed in 2015. The dimensions of the lot represented the biggest challenge. The site was an urban residue, left between two buildings and with no functional value.
The architect chose to use a palette of natural, common, readily-available and locally-sourced materials such as the concrete, cement blocks and glass. They were left exposed in order to showcase the natural, intrinsic beauty of raw materials.
The garage and the entrance form the ground floor of the house. One of the defining featured used for this project is the set of double-height glass doors which open to the backyard and the pool situated just a meters away.
These huge doors basically open the entire house to the exterior, completely eliminating the barrier. Because the backyard is so narrow and well protected by the side walls of the adjacent buildings, this portion of the site is an enclosed and private courtyard.
The swimming pool was positioned so close to the house mostly because of the lack of space on the lot. However, its proximity to the house and the fact that it’s almost as wide as the building allow the air to cool as it passes through before entering the house. As a result, the pool helps naturally ventilate the interior.
A series of sliding glass doors also allow natural light to enter the house from the North while at the same time increasing ventilation. A green wall to the West reinforces the thermal barrier and separates the house from the Northern boundary.
The front yard is a dry landscaping area populated with plants, pebbles and concrete pavers. It establishes a fresh focal point for the spaces facing this area. Combined with the wooden floors and frames which were mostly made from recycled old doors all this freshness sets a very beautiful balance throughout, creating a pleasant, airy, comfortable, inviting and not at all crowded living space.