Smyth 139 by R79
Smyth 139 is a modern two-story concrete house located in Merida, Mexico, designed in 2020 by R79.
SMTYH139, it’s a project for a dear friend and his family, great promoters of our work, who have believed in us and increased our growth, as well encourage critical thinking in us.
It is located in a rectangular plot of land about 1,600m2 of surface (20m in front x 80m of depth) in front of a Golf Court in La Ceiba, a fully consolidated residential complex in the outskirt of the city on the highway that connects Merida with Progreso.
The two-storey house, becomes for us a new test of how to blur the relationship between the outside and the inside, of how to achieve a continuous space where the interior in a flash is transformed into the exterior and vice versa. The presence of vegetation in the place and the infinite view of the green court suggested to use for this occasion an uncommon tool in the design process, called ‘cross section architecture’ thanks to this tool it was decided that is better to look the tree tops than the trunks, and that being half a level above, the spatial perception of the exterior and its continuity and fluidity were enormously delighting.
The scheme in plan divides the elongated lot into bands or stripes alternating the empty ones with the full ones: street, services, access, house, garden.
Facing the street, a large block with services, folds back a few meters to create a square for use and contemplation. Once you go through this two bands, continuing with the access process, the private parking lot with maneuvering yard appears and at its opposite end the pedestrian entrance marked by a step by step of water ponds. It is important to note that in this tour the trees trapped by the buildings are pre-existing, which is why we seek to celebrated them through the contrast between large masses and very light canopies practically non-existent.
Placing the house as far as possible from the street and closest to the golf court, has the intention of “leaving behind” the everyday life, also the fact that both the parking lot and the stepped hallway are inside and are not appreciated from the outside, confirms their need to isolate themselves, their desire for extreme privacy.
Arriving at the central area where the house is located, it greeted us with a large overhang, a covered access terrace that forces us to turn and enter sideways to the interior. To speak of this main body is to speak of a concrete idea that is forceful in its formal solution of programmatic volumes that load and perch.
It is talking about unconventional materials, textures and colors, but carefully thought out to give the user the feeling of being in a completely different place, transporting them to a retreat, to a country house outside the hustle and bustle of the city.
The ground floor is made up of 3 main elements: A solid stone volume that contains the services (laundry room, laying area, service bedroom with bathroom), a heavy wall whose linearity directs the view towards the green court and hides the semi-public supports (kitchen, breakfast area, living room) and a block of rusty cover parallel to the field, which limits natural transit from the street, confines the covered terrace that is an extension of the hallway and houses within itself the guest bathroom and a staircase that lead us to the basement where a bar and a room are located.
The upper floor is summarized in a large red box that rests on the aforementioned elements and contains the rooms with their services that are articulated on one side by a family room and that are sewn on the other by a balcony/ walkway delimited by vegetation.
Regarding the materials, the choices respond to different circumstances. Masses with an earthy finish predominate. These are the result of mixing Chukum with natural pigments such as earth or Cankab. Its hue makes the green of the vegetation light up and look even greener.
The choice for the stone has been a clear veneer, is called commercially ¨Tulum¨ and is extracted from banks of this paradisiacal tourist area.
The third and last coating used in the ¨boxes¨ is the Pre-oxidized steel, a process that through converters and catalysts achieves that wainscoting made with steel plates give us a tone between gray, black and matte brown. Wood was used as an element to provide warmth to the house, on this occasion several species are combined in different formats, achieving many interesting textures: Parota, Tzalam, Teak, Cedar, in horizontal Shutters, ceilings with very thin rods, steps of large logs.
The floor of the whole house is in a dark color, Santo Tomás marble is used and it changes its format depending on the use of space, from large slabs, through small formats of 20cm x 20cm without leaving behind the common 30cm x free lengths. The pool is lined in green venetian with the intention of extending the private garden and merge it with the green court in such a way that the notion of where the house ends is practically undecipherable.
Photography by Sergio Rios
Visit R79- by Matt Watts