Casa Cal is a holiday house that belongs to a development of 6 houses in the coastal community of Santa Elena, Oaxaca. As a starting point for the development of this temporary coastal accommodation, the design takes advantage of the existing foundation and structure of a previous project that was not carried out.
The development was designed in two rows of three houses each, alternating the position of each house with a slight lag from each other so they all can all have views over of the ocean. With this distribution over the plot, the native vegetation was preserved using it as a natural barrier between each unit, allowing visual and use privacy for each unit. In the particular coastal housing scheme used in the surroundings, the ground floor is the most public and social area of the house, letting the upper floor as the most private, where bedrooms are located.
In order to take full advantage of the views towards the ocean, this program scheme was inverted, thus the option was to install on the roof top the common areas, the pool and other common services, as a lookout point over the Pacific Ocean and the natural background.
However the main reason for the location of the most public area on the upper floor was also to use the local climate, winds and sunlight to get a better use of the architecture.
Therefore to keep the living areas fresh, using just passive conditioning systems, those living areas were kept under the slab of the upper level and the large palapa. The palapa as a vernacular construction, made with natural material, drops a shadow, which allows making the upper floor habitable at the same time that it makes the terrace floor not to warm up so the bedrooms remain cooler.
As we understand the architecture, the local practice should be analyzed and learnt from its basis, so we can be able to re-apply those fundaments taking advantage of its use, going further beyond the origins.
The project has other passive system applied to the façades after a deep analysis of the environment facts. This study led us to keep one façade completely open to the sea, from where the whole program can be deduced, and another closed by a white wall. This physical differences can be seen in the use of the materials and materiality itself. The inner side of the project has woods applied in light sliding walls, the outside façade is a blind white wall with small openings made by
the brick layout, providing each room privacy and natural cross ventilation.
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