A concrete tent creates a space void of domestic 'extras'

Casa Tiny by Aranza de Ariño. Photos Edmund Sumner

OAXACA – A tiny house designed for a couple on the Oaxacan coast, in San Pedro Tututepec, Mexico, is one of young architect Aranza de Ariño’s first professional projects. The building is a holiday home that supplies minimal functions, located 200 m from the beach in an unpopulated area. The context speaks of solitude and the building confirms the land’s rhetoric, it seems to want to push the inhabitants out into their natural surroundings.

A winding footpath leads through vegetation to a sort of external entry lobby between the outdoor swimming pool and the house. Entering the house from the concrete platform, the interior is simple and direct. A double-height space encloses a split-level environment; a concrete staircase with alternating treads ascends from the entrance to a mezzanine that hosts a bed and lamps – the space opens out to the rest of the house. Below the mezzanine is a sunken slither of a bathroom, just big enough for the necessary amenities. The remainder of the building is taken up by a kitchen and a dining space that breaches the envelope to partly occupy a patio directly outside of the building, as if to say: you will live outdoors. If not for some obvious features, this house could almost be considered just a concrete tent; the space is void of any domestic ‘extras’ that might entice the visitors to stay indoors. The minimal aesthetic, nominal functions and lack of objects creates a somewhat raw, abstract atmosphere.

The building has the primal gable form of a house and is completely cast in concrete, with timber shutters. It could easily be mistaken for one of Rachel Whiteread’s sculptures made habitable through reverting back to its original function. A selection of Whiteread’s work can be read as memorials to domesticity, containing years of residue from use; represented as concrete casts of voids left by household objects or buildings themselves. Similar to Whiteread’s approach, Ariño has designed a building that appears to be a concrete memorial – to holiday escapism.

Axonometric Diagram

Article originally published in Mark magazine issue #65

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