Have you ever wondered what it is like living inside a shell? Well, metaphorically, everybody has been a part of it, but in a literal sense – Well this quaint structure in Mexico amuses you in the most organic way possible. Designed by the organic architect of Mexico Ar. Javier Senosiain, this house is a classic take on reuniting with the nature
Ar. Javier Senosiain follows nature’s footsteps in all of his designs and takes imagination to actual built form. Senosiain believes that architecture should always be fun. He also believes that green architecture should properly balance technique, engineering, and efficiency with spatial sensibility.
Designing the Shell
Inspired by nature’s ultimate representation of the golden ratio, this architectural marvel depicts the logarithmic spiral of the nautilus cephalopod. Characterised by the concave curves, the Nautilus house artistically allows one to experience different volumes interpreting the insides of a mollusc shell uniquely. Designed for a young family with two children, the design explores to represent the colourful, playful, yet peaceful aquatic life. Varied volumes, curved surfaces, and rhythmic flow integrate nature into the house. The spiral staircase allows you to enter the space, making you move through the huge stained-glass window. The journey transports you to another dimension as the walls, ceilings, and floor do not follow conventional straight paths.
The house embodies carpet glass flooring with stone paths to lead you to various parts of the house. It represents all the natural aspects apart from highlighting the world underwater. The bent helps the house to have a seamless flow in sizes & volume. It gives you a sense of buoyancy over the vegetation while navigating the house. For instance, the living room comes up from the garden area inside the space, and the walls turn and give rise to the dining room. The family television room becomes an integral part of the belly of the shell as one follows the stairs from the hall. Following the spiral from the hall, the space flows into the study room through the belly, where the beautiful mountain landscape adds to the serenity of the study area.
The house is beautifully divided into semi-public and private spaces as the volume that goes up the shell becomes a cosy private study area. The garden area from the living spreads to private chambers of the kitchen & bedroom with service areas. The design is called Nautilus house due to its analogy where the resident has their movements from chamber to chamber where the mantle, the softer part, takes care of your nourishment & leisure – the study & the TV area goes on to harden the shell with pearls– the outer covering with punctures for natural light.
Building the Shell
The execution was as innovative as the design. This house used biomimicry with ferrocement construction to harden the shell as required. This technique of bio-architecture is a highly versatile form where any desired form can be achieved. It consists of a skeletal framing using chicken wires finished with 2 inches thick composite layer of concrete and Grancrete that can be moulded into the desired curve. This resulted in a structure that has a unique form yet is earthquake-proof and free from maintenance.
Special care was taken to enable proper ventilation of the house. The design provides two underground ducts which cater to the house as per the seasons. When the weather is hot, the ducts help to let chill in and push the hot air upwards through the spiral. The same passage helps the house warm up when the weather gets cold.
The house’s interiors have an explicit use of textures to make it synonymous with aquatic life, where the walls have sandy textures, and the bathrooms have blue tiles. The stained, colourful glass at the entrance is an extravagant feature of this colourful house. Even the furniture is an extension of the design, where that comes out organically from the walls and grows into the atmosphere.
Organic architecture – Sustainable shell
The house has a remarkable eco factor. It has been constructed with a layer of a ceramic material called Grancrete. This innovative material comprises locally available sand, ash, and binding material. This unique composition requires much less construction time, as its curing time is as short as 20 minutes. It can withstand tropical & freezing temperatures and hence can also help the house to sustain in extreme climatic conditions. It is a fire-resistant and also biodegradable material. Hence it adds to the uniqueness of the structure.
This structure uses Bio-architecture to show the use of locally available materials embedded with history and local traditions having a euphony with the organic nature and natural habitat.
As rightly said by Ar. Christopher Wren, “Architecture aims at eternity” This structure surely aims to have an eternal place in the architectural world.
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