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Material Matters

Online Feature

For Casa 39, Nazareno+Guerrero uses the richness of materials to express their design philosophy and the clients’ personalities

The rawness of the exterior reflects Ar. Nazareno's fondness for materiality, as well as his sensitivity regarding the effect that textures have on people. Rather than going ham with the board-formed concrete for the façade, Nazareno balanced it by cladding certain volumes with Accoya wood, an outdoor wood engineered for durability and rot resistance. “[The façade] could have easily been all board-formed concrete. It could have worked. But I also wanted that richness of material in being able to create architecture beyond just forms,” he says. The driveway canopy, the foyer volume, and the cantilevered volume beside the staircase were clad with Accoya wood, creating a dialogue of contrasting materials that softens the heaviness of the concrete surfaces.

Because of the façade’s composition, the number of levels isn’t immediately apparent. The house has two floors with the exception of the volume for the staircase, which contains an additional floor at the client’s request. The latter forms part of the main requirement to allocate possible storage spaces for the house since the client collects toys and various collectibles that needed to be displayed or stored away.

This tactile character of Casa 39, from its façade surfaces to the feel of its interiors, is what gives it a vibrancy that runs counter to its understated design. The lines of the board-formed concrete cast different shadows throughout the day, and the stains and cracks on its unpolished surface lend it a natural, unblemished beauty that few houses possess. If the house’s walls could speak, they would be exclaiming what Nazareno and every architect worth their salt always say—that materials are what give life to good architecture.

  • Llona, Miguel. "Material Matters" Online Feature. May 2022.


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