Casa MM Casa | Elias Rizo Arquitectos

Description by Elias Rizo Arquitectos:

Casa MM Casa presented an unusual challenge for us. Two brothers who owned a considerable stretch of land in Tapalpa approached us with the intention of building two separate houses. As we dug into the project’s needs we realized that both of our clients had similar needs and while they didn’t mind, and in fact preferred, that the houses share a common language, each one had to convey its own singular personality. The topography of the site imposed its own set of variables that resulted in further slight alterations in the design of each house.

A similar set of priorities was implemented in dimensioning spaces and establishing spatial relationships between functions.

Access to both buildings became a primary concern in our design. Although the entry layout and sequences were mainly driven by function, the clients expressed a desire that entrance into the houses be conceived as an experience in its own right. We then proceeded to articulate the entry modules with their various spaces (mud room, garage, storage, and service quarters) around open courtyards that catch the eye and allow daylight in.

Both buildings are shaped by a need for flexible use of space, and a desire to connect with the outdoors. Throughout the houses one finds that a large extent of walls and windows are in fact operable partitions that can be hidden entirely from sight to connect adjacent spaces with kindred functions, or to expose the house to its surroundings.

House A, which was built on the higher part of the property, maintains a more introvert disposition. Its floor plan displays a slight angularity that distinguishes it from House B, and all of its spaces are arranged around and open yard. Aside from the master bedroom, which stands off-axis and partially detached from the rest of the house, all dormitories contain a mezzanine level with additional beds.

House B shares the overall layout and spatial sequence of House A, but displays a strict, rectilinear floor plan which looks out beyond the property’s edge. Unlike House A, its dormitories are on a single level.

The exposed steel structure, with its clean lines and its stark geometry, acts as a disciplined three-dimensional contour, framing planes and volumes clad in raw texture, which in turn echo a direct relationship to the buildings’ natural setting.
Design Office: Elías Rizo Arquitectos

Location: Tapalpa, Mexico

Photographs: Marcos Garcia

A house of an architect | Pitsou Kedem Architect

Description by Pitsou Kedem Architect:

The neighborhood where architect Pitsou Kedem designed a home for himself and his family wasestablished in the 1950’s by army veterans and can be characterized by buildings with low silhouettes andhorizontal lines set in a rich grove of eucalyptus trees. Kedem’s home was designed to blend in with the architectural characteristics of the other homes, all built using modern architectural values. The home combines elements such as a concrete ceiling and continuous windows and also uses materials in their original, raw state: exposed concrete, iron and uncolored wood and silicate bricks. Examples of the use of such materials can be found in the concrete ceiling that floats above the entrance floor with a continuous window along its entire length. This allows the ceiling to be separate from the structure’s walls and creates a feeling of etherealness in the buildings mass and the white painted, iron ramp that leads to the floating entrance lobby.The door is located in the center of the building at the cross section between the stairwell and it opens facing a fixed, frameless window.  Through the window, we see the eucalyptus trees that surround the plot. The stairwell is constructed from metal with a unique texture and with no covering materials. It divides the two floors into rectangles and is delimitated by two walls constructed from exposed blocks that support the ceiling. Light is provided from the skylight that runs its entire length, covered by wooden slats. Set into the walls are round windows of differing sizes that allow the light coming through the skylight to disperse within the space.The house was designed as two squares, set one on top of the other whilst exploiting the sloping plot. The lower level is located at the lower and front section of the plot while the upper level is located on the plot’s higher section, towards the road and whose low silhouette is hidden by evergreen Brachychiton trees. The restraint and scale that characterize the design express the balance created between the architect’s vision and the fact that the house, which is conceived as a family home, is designed around childhood memories of the architect’s wife’s kibbutz. Kedem sought to avoid the creation of gimmicks and to realize in the house’s design that elusive idea of “timeless architecture”.

The raw materials and the attempts to create a non-fashionable and timeless architecture compliment many books and works hanging in the homes of both young and old Israeli artists such as Tsvi Geva, Yadeed Rubin, Nurit Gur Lavi, Amir Shepht, Aram Gershoni, Yifat Betsalel and others.

The house’s furniture and light fixtures were also carefully chosen to complete the look and the atmosphere. They include sofas, carpets, tables and bookcases by leading designers such as Piero Lissoni, Patricia Urquiola, Dan Yafe and others and from leading companies including MDF italia, B&BItalia,Desalto, Living Divaniand GAN.

Design Office: Pitsou Kedem Architect

Location: Ramat Hasharon, Israel

Photographs: Amit Geron