Appetite for Construction

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March 29, 2011

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.  Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga
    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.

    Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga

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  Marco Becerril, at the left end of the table, presides over his extended family in the double-height dining area.  Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga
    Marco Becerril, at the left end of the table, presides over his extended family in the double-height dining area.

    Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga

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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.  Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga
    Angelica Becerril prepares food at the kitchen island; the Carrara marble countertop is one of the few luxury materials used in the house.

    Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga

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  An exterior stairway meeting the main entrance leads to the guesthouse.  Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga
    An exterior stairway meeting the main entrance leads to the guesthouse.

    Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga

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  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.  Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga
    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.

    Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga

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  The dining table doubles as a homework spot.  Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga
    The dining table doubles as a homework spot.

    Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga

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  The bedroom in the guesthouse features cheery colors.  Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga
    The bedroom in the guesthouse features cheery colors.

    Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga

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  Unlike its neighbors, Casa Becerril is set back from the street and fits a yard onto its tight site.  Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga
    Unlike its neighbors, Casa Becerril is set back from the street and fits a yard onto its tight site.

    Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga

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  The bamboo garden, home to Oscar the tortoise, abuts the walkway leading to the central courtyard.  Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga
    The bamboo garden, home to Oscar the tortoise, abuts the walkway leading to the central courtyard.

    Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga

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  The small pool at the top of the landing provides the family with a place to cool off.  Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga
    The small pool at the top of the landing provides the family with a place to cool off.

    Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga

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  Despite a tight site, light floods into every room, including the restroom in the guesthouse.  Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga
    Despite a tight site, light floods into every room, including the restroom in the guesthouse.

    Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga

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  The architect Jorge Gracia sits on his handiwork, an unusual custom-made Cor-Ten stair leading from the courtyard to the guesthouse.  Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga
    The architect Jorge Gracia sits on his handiwork, an unusual custom-made Cor-Ten stair leading from the courtyard to the guesthouse.

    Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga

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  The inner courtyard is the core of the home.  Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga
    The inner courtyard is the core of the home.

    Photo by: Paco Perez Arriaga

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