Maruma House by Fernanda Canales
The Maruma House is a contemporary dwelling designed by Fernanda Canales in Mexico City. This rather large residence offers just under 5,500 square feet of living spaces wrapped in exposed concrete but opened up to the lush surroundings through plenty of glazed surfaces. It features an open floor plan connecting the communal areas together, creating a brighter and larger space.
Located in a residential area in the central part of Mexico City, the house becomes an exercise to achieve simultaneously openness and privacy. How is it possible to accomplish spaciousness while surrounded by massive houses on adjacent sites? How is it possible to achieve spatial flexibility under a program based on divided and isolated spaces? With a system of overlapping boxes the project takes shape allowing the fluidity of space achieved by adding up and connecting different spaces (boxes) and, in other cases, leaving the boxed as independent and closed elements.
By continuing the linear shape of the plot, the project takes shape as an elongated and elevated body sitting over a transparent volume which opens up onto the garden on the ground level which, in turn, separates the house from the limits of the site thus emphasizing the independence in relation to the adjacent houses. Another rectangular volume is placed on the second level and continues the play of overlapped boxes, opening up by means of terraces to both of its sides.
The house, characterized by the use of natural light, is aligned slightly to its northern limit in order to generate a garden and greater openings to the South to take advantage of the daylight. On the shortest sides of the site, the front and the back side of the house are solid faces, while the house opens to both of its longitudinal sides. With the idea to create wide-open spaces and take advantage of the orientations, the ground floor is designed as the most public space, made up by a rectangular volume, with gardens at both of its sides, allowing a flexible space which can be opened entirely to the exterior.
A smaller box –which houses the access, a small living room, the kitchen and a roofed terrace- intersects the transparent volume and holds the rest of the house which seems to float above. The service areas are placed in the basement plan trying to free as much space for the garden as possible. The volume that contains the living room and the main entrance is a compact box that holds a green terrace on top which, along with a series of balconies for each bedroom, tries to set apart the most from the neighbor.
The piece that connects all the different spaces is a large wooden bookshelf which holds the central staircase and goes all the way from the basement to the top floor. The stairs, with the bookshelf on one of its sides, generate a wall-furniture which starts at the access door and goes through the living room until it bends and elevates to the next level turning into a first floor living room furniture and then on a bookshelf at the top of the house. This three-story tall bookshelf unfolds into the basement as a wine cellar, generating a wooden body which on every level has varying openings depending on the usage or program of each space.
Towards the street, the house is seen as an anonymous volume. This external solidity is interrupted at the interior with a small patio in the area near the main access that connects with the living room and garden. By means of the overlapping of solids and voids the house is perceived to have larger spaces allowing the landscape to blend into its interior as well as extending the house outwards.