The clients, a young family, commissioned a comfortable house for four habitants that was functional, safe, luminous and unique in the area; but also demanded a low-cost and low maintenance home. The challenge was to accomplish this in a site with a limited surface (102m2, 6x17m), rugged topography and preexistent urban elements (trees, light posts and a telephone facilities box) that can’t be affected during the construction. The above limited the functional and morphological approach of the project. The site is located in a peripheral hill area of the city of Zacatecas, Mexico; inside an open middle-class neighborhood full of generic houses. Due to the neighborhood situation, the clients wanted a house that reflects safety from outside but that was also very luminous inside. A closed volume covered in local black flagstone forms the ground floor that contrast with the upper level, a white box with wide windows that flies and expands to the street; this box is dented in northwest corner forming a curved void that frames the entrance in the highest part of the site.
The ground floor is a space composed by two platforms that follow the terrain slope and allows open views from the entrance down to the garden. The entrance level is composed by a service area, an office, a restroom, the stairs to the upper floor, and the stairs that descend half level to the lowest platform where the garden, kitchen, and living and dining rooms are located.
The upper floor is a big floating box divided by mullions that hide the internal planning from the facade; three bedrooms distributed in simple a comb scheme that permits that all of them have northern views, illumination and thermal comfort. A bathroom shared by the two secondary bedrooms completes the architectonic program. The master bedroom has a privileged location at the northwest corner that allows the evening sunning, which is desirable under the cold weather conditions of the site. The master bedroom has a dressing room, a private bathroom and access to a curved terrace hidden from the outside, that was formed by the curved void and that blends with the neighboring hills.
The house was built with the traditional local methods: masonry foundation, red brick walls and concrete structural elements; and only three finishes were used: black flagstone covering, aluminum windows and flat white walls.
Even with the adverse conditions such as the size and topography of the site and the limited budget; it was possible to build a simple and functional house with a distinctive architectural language, that also shows harmony, comfort and openness, and that is capable of reflect the identity of their habitants.