Casa Nea by YDR Estudio

Casa Nea is a single-family house that YDR Estudio converted into two separate homes, located in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

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Located in the city center of Guatemala, the twin houses are nestled in a gated community. Gated communities and houses enclosed by high walls are common in the city to provide needed security. The high walls of these houses, however, make it almost impossible to enjoy the beauty of diversity and interaction between neighboring houses.

Although a narrow, sheltered plot; the clients wanted to turn a single-family house into two individual homes (each at 10 meters wide and 35 meters deep). While still having privacy and security as the main project influencers, the overall intent was to design a safe communal, open-spaced home. Using sufficient natural lighting, ventilation, and greenery, such a space can unfold.

The houses were conceptualized around a series of 3 patios wrapped and interlaced by the different building programs. with these connected patios a communal interior is born, offering the home a central hub.

Two main aesthetics, being wood and white finishes, were chosen to keep spaces illuminated while maintaining a warm, comfortable environment. This cohesive use of materials is applied consistently throughout the house providing a sense of familiarity and calmness.

Enclosing the warm interior is an elegant white perforated facade. This facade attempts to redefine the idea of a “high wall”. While providing privacy and security, its shifting aesthetic and play of light and shadow at different times of the day, provide a modern twist to the typical facades found in the neighborhood.

Behind closed doors, people are invited into a first-floor, open-plan living space. This type of plan allows for flexibility and integration. By combining all “service” programs (entry, elevator access, bathrooms, storage space, etc.) into one consolidated yet beautifully camouflaged unit, such openness can be achieved. Defined by smooth wooden panels, these spaces are connected by the patios and their greenery; blurring the boundaries between the interior and exterior.

On the second floor, private rooms are wrapped around the open patios, creating an interesting, exceptional, home circulation. Walking around from room to room, users will be pleased with unique views to the patios and the perforated exterior facade.

Finally, one makes their way up to the rooftop. With uninterrupted views of the volcanos and the city as a backdrop, the space is intentionally left as a white canvas. This blank slate offers future homeowners the opportunity to customize the space to their own needs and dreams.

Photography by Joseph Nance

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- by Matt Watts