Casa Caúcaso is the striking, well-poised family home of architect José Juan Rivera Río. Located in Mexico City, it was made using regionally-sourced concrete, wood, marble, and glass.
This modernist residence is the striking, well-poised family home of architect José Juan Rivera Río. Located in Mexico City, it was made using regionally-sourced concrete, wood, marble, and glass.
These materials were chosen for their ability to complement the qualities of the surrounding environment, and are also arranged in a way that forms a sense of openness and connection between the spaces inside and outside of the home.
Among the key elements creating this effect are the sweeping sheets of glass that make up the greater part of its front and back walls, which enhance the sense of opened space and take full advantage of the exceptional scenery. These slide open to extend the living room and bedrooms outwards to the wide terraces on each floor.
The foundations are raised 1.3 metres above ground level to allow residents the best possible view of the surrounding city, forest and mountains. Inside, the ceiling of the lobby is doubly high, further adding to the abundant space and light.
To help create this high ceiling, part of the upper floor was removed and replaced with a smaller bridge, which itself enhances the sense of space through its use of glass panel sides, closing them to movement but not from sight.
This bridge is one of many features in Casa Caúcaso that suggest an interplay between heaviness and lightness. Its thin transparent glass sides appear weightless in comparison to the thick wooden base, and it floats as if detached from any of the building’s main walls.
Another feature is the imposing central block, which overhangs where it is supported by a more solid foundation. The bulky steps up to the house around the side and at the back terrace also have this effect, balancing upon obscured blocks underneath so as to give them the impression of hovering weightlessly.
The openness and fluid boundaries of the design work together with the juxtapositions of heaviness and lightness to form a strong sense of vitality and interconnection with the surrounding environment.
The use of fluid inner and outer boundaries, and consideration of local materials and scenery, has achieved a design which is distinguished but remains in harmony with its setting.
Photo by Mark Haddawy