Location: El Vaquerito, Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico
Material: Concrete, Steel, Natural Stone, Wood and Glass
Design date: 2019
Completion date: 2021
Built area: 250m2
Lead architects: Rogelio Vallejo Bores, Didier Ascencio Castro
Design team: Sergio Garcia Padilla, Jesús López, Alberto Gallegos
Construction: ARGA Constructora
Video: Mavix / Hugo Tirso
Photographer: César Béjar, Dane Alonso
Text provided by the architects:
Nearby the historic city of Morelia, this project emerges in a forested area as a vaulted concrete shelter to create a family home, which is integrated to the site’s lush surroundings. The main inspiration was the subtle murmurs whispered by the virgin environment, and from the user’s search for protection and shelter.
How can one feel protected? And in any case, what can be done when feeling vulnerable? This question was accompanied by and image or perhaps a memory: a frightened child covering himself with a light bed sheet as he looks out to make sure he sees what is going on around him.
This action alludes to the most basic part of a human being, translating this to the project to generate a continuity in the beautiful living surface around the land, forming a new hill in a place already surrounded by many of them. The architecture should be in this case, an accent on the words of the narrative, while the poem is already given by the immediate context, the forms of life and other elements that reflects the passage of time.
Such accents in the poem were four concrete walls that emerged surprisingly from the landscape, two of them bear the land of this new hill created by raising the grass sheet, and two others frame the access and escort the guests on their way into the house.
This path is designed to walk it comfortably alone but narrow enough not to be able to do it accompanied. Visitors are cast into a pilgrimage in solitude that leads to an old tree with such a significant presence that it was necessary to distort the linearity of one of the walls with a gentle curve to be able to pass next to it…so close that it is even possible to graze it.
After crossing the tree threshold, a heavy steel door is presented, while opening a concrete vault is discovered, supporting the loads of the green bed sheet that rests on it, giving a sensation of being inside a cold and dark, but strangely cozy cave.
Exposed concrete was chosen as the main material because of its materiality and rocky appearance, melting the house while inevitably interacting with the forest throughout the years. The flooring would emphasize the aroma of wood and gives balance to the cold temperature of the concrete, and finally, the steel took place because with time and rainfall, it acquires an appearance like tree bark.
As for the spatial organization, on the left side of the house are the public areas completely exposed to the wooded ravine, an on the right side the private areas open more timidly to an intimate patio, allowing to see the sky and the top of the lush vegetation.
It was important to have very few references of elements to remember a specific moment in time, so the refrigerator and appliances were hidden, the lighting was arranged very discreetly, and only four main materials were included: stone, wood, concrete and steel. The main goal for the client was to preserve the rough and primitive atmosphere of being in the mountains.