Appetite for Construction

written by:
photos by:
March 29, 2011
Originally published in Cheap and Chic

Six years ago, architect Jorge Gracia came to Dwell’s attention with a house he built for his family that was radically different from any other in his hometown of Tijuana, Mexico, where the hillsides are peppered with unplanned, makeshift houses for the poor and pastel-colored, ersatz Spanish manses for the rich. Despite Mexico’s strong modernist tradition—think of the work of Luis Barragán and Enrique Norten—Tijuana hasn’t been its beneficiary. “I’m an architect in a city with no architecture,” Gracia told Dwell in 2005. “In a place like this, you have to ask a client to have faith, and faith to me has always been the belief in something you can’t see.”

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  • 
  The Becerril family embraces stark modernism with a mute facade clad in Hardie board and acrylic panels. Access to the heart of the house is through the bamboo garden.
    The Becerril family embraces stark modernism with a mute facade clad in Hardie board and acrylic panels. Access to the heart of the house is through the bamboo garden.
  • 
  Marco Becerril, at the left end of the table, presides over his extended family in the double-height dining area.
    Marco Becerril, at the left end of the table, presides over his extended family in the double-height dining area.
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  Angelica Becerril prepares food at the kitchen island; the Carrara marble countertop is one of the few luxury materials used in the house.
    Angelica Becerril prepares food at the kitchen island; the Carrara marble countertop is one of the few luxury materials used in the house.
  • 
  An exterior stairway meeting the main entrance leads to the guesthouse.
    An exterior stairway meeting the main entrance leads to the guesthouse.
  • 
  Marco Becerril embraces indoor-outdoor living. "In a place like this, you have to ask a client to have faith, and faith to me has always been the belief in something you can't see," says architect Jorge Gracia who designed the residence.
    Marco Becerril embraces indoor-outdoor living. "In a place like this, you have to ask a client to have faith, and faith to me has always been the belief in something you can't see," says architect Jorge Gracia who designed the residence.
  • 
  The dining table doubles as a homework spot.
    The dining table doubles as a homework spot.
  • 
  The bedroom in the guesthouse features cheery colors.
    The bedroom in the guesthouse features cheery colors.
  • 
  Unlike its neighbors, Casa Becerril is set back from the street and fits a yard onto its tight site.
    Unlike its neighbors, Casa Becerril is set back from the street and fits a yard onto its tight site.
  • 
  The bamboo garden, home to Oscar the tortoise, abuts the walkway leading to the central courtyard.
    The bamboo garden, home to Oscar the tortoise, abuts the walkway leading to the central courtyard.
  • 
  The small pool at the top of the landing provides the family with a place to cool off.
    The small pool at the top of the landing provides the family with a place to cool off.
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  Despite a tight site, light floods into every room, including the restroom in the guesthouse.
    Despite a tight site, light floods into every room, including the restroom in the guesthouse.
  • 
  The architect Jorge Gracia sits on his handiwork, an unusual custom-made Cor-Ten stair leading from the courtyard to the guesthouse.
    The architect Jorge Gracia sits on his handiwork, an unusual custom-made Cor-Ten stair leading from the courtyard to the guesthouse.
  • 
  The inner courtyard is the core of the home.
    The inner courtyard is the core of the home.
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