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2018 MCHAP

Galapagos House

C3 Arquitectos

Poncitian, Mexico

August 2016


Fernando Castiello GV Jaime Castiello GV Jaime Castiello Chavez


Hector Pena (Junior Partner) Alicia Arambula (Junior Partner) Mariana Alvarez (Junior Partner) Sonia Pena (Junior Partner)


Fernando Araiza


Lorena Darquea Schettini


The blueprint of the construction was determined by the gaps between vegetation and rocks. The house is disarrayed maintaining only a single guiding and unifying space. The pre-existing garden functions as a yard and its main function is to link all the elements of the house. The diffusion of the different spaces offers us the unique opportunity to wander about and acknowledge different areas of the terrain, allowing the user to fully experience every element that the context has to offer. In order to deference the surroundings, the proposal was solve the house in one level, respecting the foliage and utilizing it as a natural cover. The constructions are made only with local materials and the workforce was executed by local people. The foundations and walls are built with stone extracted from the ground, the flattened floors are made with local sand, the stones for the outdoor walks were collected from a nearby stream, and the mud bricks for the walls were manufactured by artisanal workers under distinct specifications with measurements designed for the given project. In solely using local materials, our purpose was to reinforce and aid the local economy.


The house is located in the indigenous community of Mezcala, at the north shore of Lake Chapala, the largest lake of Mexico which is located in the state of Jalisco. The property has a very particular topography: the northern boundary (main entrance) ascends with a slope of approximately 30% and reaches a +4.0m level, then it maintains its inclination, thus creating a large platform where we can find a large variety of endemic trees that appear as if they existed there since the beginning of time; trees like Guaje and Tepeguaje just to mention some. The land is very rocky, there are many large monoliths formations, some semi-buried, others fully exposed. The dense foliage acts as filter for the sunlight, creating light effects all over the ground. Through the tree trunks you can see from a distance the great Lake of Chapala. The symbiosis of these elements: the light, the vegetation, the orography and the lake, generate a feeling of great respect for the context. The walks through the property, the great learning.


The purpose was to break the traditional life scheme ruled by urban archetypes and customs, and to transform the way of living into a much flexible and freely way. The final layout of the house promotes and encourages the user to do so. The spaces and projected forms intent to speak for a quintessential image of a timeless house. To appear as if the completed project could existed in the site without any type of intrusion or presumption. The spatial quality is given by its dimensions and scale, not by its ornaments. In this way the impact to the context is almost null. Working within this non-urban context, gave the opportunity of completely integrating the house with the local and natural context. The house was originally designed to be for occasional use, but it has now became a house of permanent use.

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