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The Architectural Trio: Edition #28
On the eve of my final five days in Liverpool before returning home, this week’s architecture was a little disappointing. As a result, I have only included two projects instead of the standard three. However, despite the lack of quality projects to choose from, the two I have selected are brilliant. Hopefully next week will provide a larger quantity of exemplary work. Over the summer I plan to write a range of posts about architectural education, selected projects, general design topics and my travel, alongside some monthly music playlists. That should keep me busy, and you entertained. Enjoy the duo!
Casa Chaaltun, Mexico, Tescala Architects
Casa Chaaltun is located in Merida, the capital of the Yucatán state in Mexico which is famous for its Mayan ruins. The house is a complex formation of four volumes which interlink in places whilst sliding apart in others to create external areas. Whilst the design is clearly contemporary, Tescala Architects have creatively incorporated elements that relate the architecture to its surroundings. The stone is coated with a finish called yukum which is made by mixing tree resin and limestone, and the concrete walls leading down to the basement are coloured a pinky-red to imitate the surrounding rock. Also, concept of the house form is based on a locally found natural feature called a cenote, a sunken limestone pit filled with water. The central pool and deck acts as the core of the house, with a limestone wall and the two flanking volumes relating to the sunken nature of a cenote. The use of oxford grey granite at the bottom of the pool gives the water a dark green-blue shimmer. Inside outside living is encouraged at Casa Chaaltun, however the architects have carefully shaded the internal areas and provided adequate cross ventilation to further enhance cooling. So whilst the front facade does not give it away, the house proves itself to be a hidden box of delights that is both functional and sensitive.
Lycée Schorge Secondary School, Burkina Faso, Diébédo Francis Kéré
This secondary school on the outskirts of Burkina Faso’s third largest city uses a number of sustainable techniques to maintain cool working environments and foster a communal atmosphere. The ring of nine modules is made from local laterite stone, which is harvested then cut into brick and allowed to air dry. They provide fantastic thermal mass which helps to reduce the flow of heat through the walls. The raised, overhanging roof shades the buildings, whilst apertures in the undulating plastered ceilings promote air flow. Rooftop wind catchers provide further cooling by removing warm stagnant air from the rooms. Fast growing local hardwood has been made into screens which define outside areas, providing shade and preventing dust build up. The ring shape has facilitated an open yet clearly defined central space for the school and local community. Interestingly, there are clear parallels between this project and Kéré’s recently opened Serpentine Pavilion in London. Whilst the two climates are completely different, the architect’s style is prevalent and both designs are successful and equally sensitive. This it the sign of a fantastic architect, when they can blend their own personal ideals and the needs of a specific brief to create an outstanding building.