PaperCity Magazine


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 98 of 131

whereas Frank Lloyd Wright's concept of organic principals generated geometric straight-line abstractions, Senosiain's work bears free-form organic abstractions. His curvilinear plastic forms have no straight lines and, as with Gaudí, are based on forms from nature. His designs incorporate 21st-century sustainable concepts such as passive systems (non- mechanical) for heating and cooling, and rainwater collection for irrigating the lush plantings that envelop his architecture. A simple system he uses for natural cooling and heating is to orient the windows of a house south. The windows are then protected with eyebrows that shade the interior from the hot summer sun. In winter, these eyebrows allow low-angle direct sun into the interior to facilitate heating. Unique to most of the architect's designs is the incorporation of earth sheltering, which not only insulates his domestic structures with earth mass but also enfolds the built forms with and into the natural landscape. The house Senosiain designed and built for himself and his wife in 1984 is located in Naucalpan de Juárez, on the outskirts of Mexico City. Casa Orgánica was originally called Casa de Piedra (House of Stone) because the site he purchased was filled with natural stones. His first organic thoughts were to build walls with the stones from the site. As the design progressed, the architect became concerned that there was no continuity between the floor, wall, and ceiling because they were made of disparate materials. This led to an exploration for materials integral to the curved form. Similar to the works of Félix Candela, Casa Orgánica's curvilinear plastic forms bio-mimic an eggshell, which by its shape is thin but very strong. The underlying support structure was achieved by using innovative construction materials and methodology: The structural cage of steel reinforcing bars was covered with a wire mesh on both sides and sprayed with ferrocement to forge its rigid shell. This understructure was then sprayed with a ¾-inch-thick layer of polyurethane foam before being covered with a water-proofing mastic. For the final process, earth from the excavation of the site encased the completed shell to act as a biomass stabilizing interior temperatures in a range of 18 to 22 degrees C (64 to 72 degrees F) with 40 to 60 percent humidity. Senosiain describes the design evolution of the house that served as the DNA of his practice: "The original idea of the project took its smile from a peanut shell: two wide oval spaces with lots of light, united by a space in low and narrow gloom. The two large spaces, one day and one night, [suggest] the feeling that the person will enter … aware of the uniqueness of this space without losing integration with the exterior green area." To this end, the public oval day space contains the living, dining, and kitchen areas and is filled with abundant natural light. The private oval night space contains the sleeping, dressing, and bath areas, distinguished by moderated natural light. Connecting the disparate areas, akin to hallways, are compressed darkened curved tunnels, always leading to larger open and lighted areas. From the exterior car park, one approaches the house using a spiral stair leading up to the entry — a shape reminiscent of a shark's mouth, emblematic of the architect's playful introduction of animal and/or mythic associations into his dwellings. The entry segues into the beginning of a curved darkened tunnel, which dramatically connects to the public area. This ample, continuous public space is punctuated by biomorphic curving glass windows and a door that connects the interiors to the verdant tropical garden that envelopes Casa Orgánica. Joining public and private area is another long, curvaceous, The TV room with swooping sink The architect's studio 97

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - PaperCity_Houston_September_2021