Project: Maruma’s house
Architect: Fernanda Canales
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Area: 5,381 sf
Photo by: Courtesy of Fernanda Canales
Maruma House by Fernanda Canales
Maruma House is a contemporary residence designed by Fernanda Canales in Mexico City. This rather large residence offers living spaces under 5,500 square feet wrapped in open concrete but open to a fertile environment through many glass surfaces. It features an open floor plan that connects shared communal areas, creating brighter and bigger spaces.
Located in a residential area in the middle of Mexico City, the house is an exercise in achieving openness and privacy at the same time. How is it possible to reach space when surrounded by large houses in a nearby location? How is it possible to achieve spatial flexibility under a program based on separate and isolated spaces? With overlapping box systems the project takes the form that allows the fluidity of space to be achieved by adding and connecting different spaces (boxes) and, in other cases, leaving the boxes as independent and closed elements.
By continuing the linear shape of the plot, the project takes the form of an elongated and tall body that sits on a transparent volume that opens to a ground-level garden which, in turn, separates the house from the boundaries of the site thereby emphasizing independence in relation to adjacent houses . Other rectangular volumes are placed on the second level and continue playing overlapping squares, opening through the terraces to both sides.
The house, marked by the use of natural light, is slightly aligned with the northern boundary to produce parks and larger openings to the South to utilize daylight. On the shortest side of the site, the front and back of the house is a solid face, while the house is open to both sides longitudinally. With the idea of creating wide open spaces and utilizing orientation, the ground floor is designed as the most public space, created by rectangular volumes, with gardens on both sides, allowing flexible space that can be opened completely to the outside.
A smaller box – which accommodates access, a small living room, kitchen, and roofed terrace – cuts out the transparent volume and holds back the rest of the house that appears to be floating above. The service area is placed in a basement plan trying to free up as much space as possible for the park. The volume containing the living room and main entrance is a compact box that holds a green terrace above it which, together with a series of balconies for each bedroom, tries to separate most of the neighbors.
A piece that connects all the different spaces is a large wooden bookshelf that holds the central stairs and goes far from the basement to the top floor. The stairs, with bookshelves on one side, produce wall furniture that starts at the access door and passes through the living room until it bends and rises to the next level turning into a living room furniture first floor and then on a bookshelf at the top of the house. This three-story bookshelf extends to the cellar as a wine cellar, producing a wooden body that at each level has openings that vary depending on the use or program of each space.
Towards the road, the house was seen as an anonymous volume. This external solidity is disturbed in the interior with a small terrace in the area near the main access that is connected to the living room and garden. By overlapping the solids and cavities of the house is considered to have a larger space that allows the landscape to blend in with the interior and expand the house to the outside.