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HOUSE 0319

Design Team: Jaime Correa

Most men never consider what a house is, nor they usually ponder the meaning of the notions of space or beauty. These archetypal examples are used as precedents for a multiple courtyard house in rural Mexico; all of them including, the Mausoleum of Augustus, the Pantheon in Rome, the Maniace Castle in Syracuse, the First Unitarian Church in Rochester by Louis Kahn or the Casa in Alvalade by Aires Mateus are examples of walls which have been thickened and/or inhabited by service spaces in order to provide greater spatial legibility. These examples prove that a man can build a plain cottage with such great symmetry, as to make all the fine palaces look cheap and vulgar. This house purges the superfluous by making use of geometry, instead of expense.

A house plan is a unique fingerprint of a place in time. The planimetric distribution of this rural courtyard house is based on the notion of a revolving open-air corridor around building walls which have been thickened or inhabited by service spaces or benches. Five building conditions define the circular path of the house: there is an Impluvium space at the entrance, then a house containing social areas and a small library, followed by a half bath floating on a green space, four bedrooms, and a Temazcal (a typical Mexican sauna building) facing a square swimming pool.

If we attain a sense of the relative value of things, we end up needing fewer things. The composition of this rural courtyard house is based on the attainment of a few legible volumes along a circular corridor. The white concrete buildings are relatively simple; and yet, they are distinguished typologically by their shape, height, and their phenomenological characteristics – particularly the way the sun light enters through roof slits into some of the rooms. As a typical Mexican courtyard house of the “Hacienda Type”, it is raised from the ground plain (as a sacred building) and creates its own internal environment by the thickening of the exterior wall (to exercise control over the natural environment).

There is a limit to almost everything: a limit to bigness, a limit to numbers, a limit to density, a limit to pleasure, a limit to pain; but, there is no limit to human imagination. I would much rather spend time in the portrayal of uttermost simplicity than in the development of fake parametric complexities. These facades are the precise result of my internal reflection: the name of my mean is simplicity. Give me neither poverty nor riches; but, do not prevent the existence of philosophy for it is in its frugality where I can find my refuge to all contemporary excesses.

Every movement that humanity has made toward spiritual enlightenment and justice is a movement toward the simplicity of life. Our current civilization has become a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities when, in fact, the essence of the good life is not in the multiplication of wants but in their deliberate and voluntary renunciation. In the tradition of the “Hacienda Type”, this courtyard house is placed in the most anonymous place of the “pradera”. Although the original landscape is violated with the presence of the house, its placement does not hurt but enriches the whole context in its purest existence. The line of smoke of the Temazcal (a traditional Mexican sauna building) establishes the presence of a new rural settlement – a potential beginning for a new town.

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