HW Studio La colina frente la cañada

Source: HW StudioLocation: El vaquerito, Morelia, Michoacán. MexicoYear: 2021Photography: Cesar BejarPhotography: Dane AlonsoVideographer: Mavix. Hugo Tirso Dominguez
Date: October 16, 2023

The idea that originated this project came from the subtle murmurs whispered by an environment like this, which were carefully listened to, and
from the client’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 an image or perhaps a memory: that of 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. Pulling a bed sheet to cover up is a very elemental act that alludes to the most basic part of the self; a bed sheet hides, protects, wraps, and creates a space underneath so safe and intimate that it is able to keep away any spirit, ghost, or demon that may be surrounding the room.

At the same time, it generates a continuity in the beautiful living surface around the land, forming a new hill in a place already surrounded by many of them. Architecture should be in this case an accent mark on the words of a poem, a comma, or in any case a question mark, but it should never be the poem itself. The poem is already given by the pines, the oaks, the sweet acacia, the fireflies, the road, the fence, the neighbor’s water well, the earth, the orchard, and the nightingale.

Such accents marks in the poem were four concrete walls that emerged surprisingly from the landscape; two of them bear the land of this new hill that appeared by raising the bed sheet, and two others frame the drive to escort guests on their way into the house.

This path is wide enough to walk it comfortably alone but too narrow to do it accompanied. Visitors are cast into a solitary pilgrimage 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 make it possible to pass next to it…so close that it is even possible to graze it as we walk by. After crossing the tree threshold, going down a few solid pearled stone steps, and opening a heavy steel door, a concrete vault stands there. It supports the loads of the green bed sheet that rests on it and gives a sensation of being inside a cold, dark, but strangely cozy cave.

Concrete was chosen as the main material because of a dream of this new rock melting while inevitably interacting with the forest, changing colors… grays that turned to greens, blacks and yellows that were gradually incorporated into the environment. The flooring would emphasize the aroma of wood perceived when you are surrounded by pine trees, giving balance to the cold temperature of the concrete. Finally, steel took place because, with time and rainfall , it acquires the look of tree bark. As for the spatial organization, the public areas are completely exposed to the wooded ravine on the left side of the house; the private areas on the right side open more timidly to a courtyard that allows to see the sky and the top of some trees but shuts down a bit from the outside. It was important to have the least possible references to elements that would connect to a specific moment in time, so the refrigerator and appliances were hidden, the lighting was arranged very discreetly, and only the four main materials were included: stone, wood, concrete, and steel. It was very important for the client to preserve the rough and primitive atmosphere of the mountains.

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