The house is located on an informal neighborhood on the periphery of Mexico City. It’s a small house of 110 m2 for a retired teacher. The limited budget of the client forced us to use the most common and economic materials of the local construction industry. One of those materials is the standard solid brick of 7-14-28 cm used commonly in these neighborhoods for its durability, thermic properties and availability.
We worked Hand by Hand with the local hand labor to re-interpret their knowledge on masonry construction systems to obtain simple but powerful results. By using the simple running brick bond and a thick joint of mortar, we were able to build walls with less material in less time. To give the bricks a smoother texture we polished them with another brick block while the mortar was fresh.
Originally, the project consisted of two twin patio houses within a small and narrow plot, one for the client and the other one for her sister. Once we started the construction, the front house was cancelled and we only did the house for the client in the back of the plot, leaving a big garden in front of the house.
Due to the increasing and fast growth of this region, we estimate than in a period of 5 to 7 years, the surrounding lots will develop in a very dense and intrusive way, leaving our house enclosed by a dense informal housing. Because of this characteristic of the immediate context we decided to design an intrusive body of brick with a concrete skeleton that opens to an inner patio to protect the views from the other neighbors to the plot.
This patio is the core of the whole Project. The house is reinforced with concrete frames to stand the common earthquakes of this region. We used the volcanic Stone that we found on the terrain to build the foundations, platform, stairs and exterior wall of the house. The volcanic stone, together with the brick skin of the house, regulate the temperature of the house during the day and night. The two bedrooms are built over a light wooden deck that gives a warm and beautiful wooden ceiling to the main public spaces below. All the service and circulation areas are located along a linear spine, while the living spaces are located in the arms of the house that enclose the patio.
This central – open space articulates the living room and dining room and due to the good weather of the region, the patio can act as an extension of both public spaces to have a bigger public area on the ground floor and regulates ventilation of the main spaces. The sharp sunlight of this latitude together with the materiality of the brick surfaces on the walls and on the floors plays very beautiful sequences of colors and textures during the day. Each space of the house is provided with a different type and intensity of light according to the activities taking place within. The honesty on the use of materials, construction systems and structure is homage to Rudolf Schwarz´s beautiful and powerful churches of the post war period.