Entre Pinos

Héctor Barroso. In the middle of the forest in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, five houses are dispersed in the land surrounded by mountains.

The site, equally divided into five parts, concentrates the access and common areas to the north, whereas to the south, the houses and gardens are placed. By tilting the houses and dispersing them into volumes, the sense of a set of houses is lost; it becomes a cluster of masses and vegetation immersed in the place, drawing architecture closer to the human scale.

The houses are deeply rooted in the landscape and constructed out of local materials such as brick, wood and soil. The soil, taken and reused from the excavations to bury the foundations, is the main material. Therefore, architecture emerges from the place.

Each house, identical in typology as the rest, is closed and solid towards the northern pathway, opening the views to the forest in the south. The houses consist of six volumes positioned in such ways they generate a void, a central courtyard that grants views, silence and intimacy. This courtyard becomes the central space of the house. 

This compositional scheme of independent volumes, creates a sequence of spaces that does not follow a straightforward linear path, instead, the inhabitant can saunter and linger, feeling different atmospheres in each space. 

These volumes are excavated by the light that shatters the interior spaces, creating different paths that culminate with the gardens that merge with the surrounding forest. Moving between the combination of light and shadow, open and enclosed spaces, reveals new experiences to the inhabitant. It is through this freedom of movement that memories and a sense of place are evoked while experiencing new atmospheres through the changing sound and light.

This composition allows each volume to work almost independently, avoiding hierarchies and incorporating the architectural program. On the lower floor: living, dining, the kitchen, and one of the bedrooms expand their limits to the exteriors joining terraces, courtyards and the garden, losing the boundaries between interior and exterior. On the upper floor, three bedrooms are placed, creating intimate spaces that frame the views to the magnificent pine trees.

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