The Zicatela House: The duality between roughness and softness

Hello dear readers, I hope you're spending a great weekend. To all my fellow university mate, I hope you started the new semester in a peaceful state of mind. Today's article will focus on an amazing architectural project I stumble upon during my research. I can honestly say that I am excited to dive right into the project for multiple reasons. First of all, because of the layout of the building, second of all, because of the material used and its connection to the surroundings. The House has been designed by the architect Ludwig Godefroy for one of his clients. The design is executed to perfection which values the house the name of "The open-air fortress". This project is definitely one of my favorites because of it's avant-gardism and uniqueness. If you wish to learn more about the Zicatela house then keep reading this article.


The Zicatela house is a small weekend house located on top of a hill in front of Zicatela beach, next to Puerto Escondido in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. The house was designed with one main purpose: to give the owner the opportunity to leave Mexico City in order to take a break from the megalopolis and urban habits, by coming to get some rest and relax while enjoying the heart of the Mexican coast and the peaceful sight of Oaxaca. This house responds to a double landscape, on one side in the background, we can contemplate the peaceful view of the beach and the sea, and on the other side, we can observe the roughness and rawness of the mountains and agave fields.



This project has a very interesting individuality of being a countryside house next to the sea, instead of a traditional beach house. The house is based on the duality of its surroundings and its ability to interact with them while being a protective fortress merging with wide-open spaces. The design gives you the feeling to live in an outside garden, thus blurring the limit between space.


Zicatela house is built on a small 300 m2 plot, using a typology of defensive architecture, where a wall surrounds the terrain completely, helping create a 100% controlled area on the inside, turning it into an open-sky fortress, with only one main view towards the sky (the only permanent element in time) which provide its openness to the space. " The house is a bunker on the outside, one of those massive concrete structures I used to see in Normandy, but also a protecting Mexican pyramid on the inside, one of those I use to see when I travel around in Mexico, the country where it's been 10 years that I live and work at," said Ludwig Godefroy.

In my opinion, the Zicatela house is revolutionary because of its merging of the residential and defensive architecture. Indeed, the layout of the house is interconnected, which offers full control of the rooms to the habitants of the house, while assuring a cohesion between each living space. Moreover, despite the unclosing of the space by walls, the design gives a sense of openness due to the open-air sky-view. The main feature tidying the garden and the house is the staircases that go into the roof, offering to the inhabitants a 360 view of the sea and the mountains. The idea of duality is also represented through the choice of the building material, indeed, the concrete and the wood create nuance in color and in the finish. This design choice is a reminiscence of the client's desire to distance himself from the busy megapolis in order to relax, the design gives a sense of a spiritual retreat where despite the isolation with the outside world, the inhabitant is able to connect with nature and it's surrounding.


That's it guys I hope you enjoy reading this article because I really enjoyed writing about this project. Until next time, take care of yourselves ♡

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