Guadalajara, JAL, MX
Design: Elías Rizo / Alejandro Rizo
PROJECT DIRECTOR: Jenny Camarena
Located in a well-established residential area in Guadalajara, RO House is the product of a meticulous restoration undertaking. The original house was built in the late 60s in the international style and had once featured all the aesthetic concerns that dominated the architectural production of its day. Its orthogonal geometry, its frank distribution, its openness to the exterior and the materials used in its construction were some of the cues from which we initiated the arduous process of intervention. The main challenge was to adapt this aged shell of a house to suit the needs of a contemporary young family, without altering its essence.
Before the RO House restoration, the building had undergone several failed interventions and had deteriorated considerably over time. However, there was much that could be rescued. We began by demolishing some of the adjacent areas of the house and working to preserve most of the ground floor intact. From there we proceeded to intervene the building in a chirurgical fashion to make way for the new program.
The new project organizes the program of the house to revolve around two central areas; a double height vestibule by the entry and an outdoor terrace at the back of the house. The former was preserved in its original condition and designated as an open, transitional space, populated by a series of drift wood sculptures; the latter had to be created to provide a large, flexible space for the family to gather at various times of the day.
The intervention favors comfort, durability and habitability over avant-garde architectural expression. Throughout the house, space breathes modestly through clean lines and little obstruction, and allows materials to take on a more prominent role. We find wood, in various formats, hues and textures, dressing many of the surfaces of the house and providing warmth and softness where it is needed. We used stone in various shapes, sizes and finishes, to harmonize with the existing marble floors, which we worked to preserve as best we could. Furniture too plays an integral role in the house; this is especially evident in the living spaces and the vestibule.
The design of the house envelope responds to orientation and climate comfort. Operable wood screens slide on invisible rails past the windows in the back spaces of the upper level, to reveal or conceal the master dormitory.