THE WORKS OF JAVIER SENOSIAIN are anything but ordinary. In fact, they are audacious, controversial and very much alive and animated.
Take his Nautilus house, for example. Located in Mexico, Senosiain brings to life the aquatic in the architecture of the home.
Then again, that’s because Senosiain is Mexico’s celebrated exponent and explorer of organic architecture. He draws his inspiration from living things: sharks, whales, snakes, peanuts, flowers…all the biodiversity you can find on earth. Senosiain is currently a professor of architecture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Born in 1948, he is 69 today.
One of his much-celebrated works is a house at Vista del Valle, north of Mexico City which sits on a hill overlooking the city and is designed in the shape of a shark. It is a ferro-concrete construction coated with polyurethane and UV-resistant elastomeric waterproofing. Inside the shark (and you shall see it later as you scroll down) comprises a complex labyrinth of rooms and interconnecting carpeted tunnels.
The Nautilus house, in many ways, is similar to the Shark House. It was created in 2007 as a nautilus shell, the nautilus being a pelagic marine mollusc. The house is shaped like the creature’s shell with the walls swirling around to replicate the inside of the shell and it is adorned with coloured stained glass to mimic the dance of lights on the sea.
The Nautilus house by Javier Senosiain of Arquitectura Organica is innovative and unusual. Inspired by the work of Gaudí and Frank Lloyd Wright, Senosiain brought to Mexico City another sparkling example of what he calls “Bio-Architecture” — the idea that buildings based on the natural principles of organic forms bring us back to local history, tradition and cultural roots, in turn creating harmony with nature.”
He writes further…
“Bio-Architecture studies the natural principles of animal and human constructions from several different perspectives, and presents a great part of the knowledge that gives origin and shape to built form.
“Organic architecture offers a design approach arising from natural principles, bringing us back to local history, tradition, and cultural roots to give us built forms which are in harmony with nature. It also shows how architects can take advantage of the resources that contemporary technology has placed within our grasp.”
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About the Book Bio-Architecture
Bio-Architecture, the book by Javier Senosiain studies the natural principles of animal and human constructions from several different perspectives and looks at what gives origin and shape to built form. The text gives an informative, inspiring overview of the drive toward organically informed design both intrinsically and aesthetically using a wide variety of international examples.
Javier Senosiain is an architect and an historian. He pursued his interest in Organic Architecture across the globe drawing parallels between Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic dome and the spider’s web; between Santiago Calatrava’s Cathedral of St John in NY and the roots of a tree. Where nature has inspired form, Senosiain has made a career of analyzing and applying the principles he sees in some very creative writing and architecture.
Watch the Nautilus House Come Alive
How the Nautilus Home Came to Be
A young family with two children from Mexico City were tired living in a conventional home and wanted to change to one integrated with nature. The Nautilus House is wonderful to look at, walk through and enjoy for what it is – a blend of modern architecture and contemporary art. The sculptural whimsical house features a striking entry cut into a wall of colourful stained glass. Each element has been carefully chosen to coincide with the organic theme of the building.
As Senosiain Says
“In this work, the floor is the logarithmic spiral, adapting itself to the land. Work on the scale model generated many changes to find the volume which was required by the building.
The creative process has been interesting, recreational, fun … the best, as The Prince says, it is the process of growing the rose more than the result.
“When entering from the outside you go up the stairs and, when getting inside the Nautilus through a big stained-glass window, a space experience is generated as you live the sequence of the distance travelled, where neither the walls nor the floor or the ceiling are parallel. It is a fluid space in three dimensions where you can perceive the continuous dynamic of the fourth dimension as you walk in spiral on the stairs, with a sense of floating over the vegetation.
“Then the tour continues through the hall, past the TV room sheltered in the belly of the crustaceous and, up the spiral stairs, you come to the studio where you can see the mountain landscape.
“At the back of the Nautilus it is the intimate zone and service area.”
More of Javier Senosiain’s Organic Architecture
Forty-five minutes from Mexico City, stands a 10-unit apartment complex in the shape of mythological Aztec snake. It was designed by Javier Senosiain and serves as model of sustainability in a metropolitan area characterized by urban sprawl. Here water is captured from the rain and the residents harvest their own food.
Watch his Aztec Snake come alive by clicking on the link.
The Organic House
Senosiain’s Organic House is born with the idea of creating an area adapted for man, according to his environmental, physical and psychological needs. It’s origin is in nature, because it looks for areas similar to the maternal womb, to animal shelters, to those of man, who in the beginning, adopted the caverns without modifying its environment, to an igloo and to all the friendly spaces and concave that recall the arms of the mother that cuddles the child.
The Snake School
The Snake concept was developed in an area with volcanic lava located in University City, close to the circular pyramid of CuicuiIco, for the city of humanities research, which includes 12 interdisciplinary elements.
The access to each school is located by the cars’ circuit; the parking lots are located next to the schools following the topography. The libraries, because they occupy larger areas and have more weight, are located on the ground floor; the administrative areas on the first level, and in the second, the researchers cubicles. On the roof you can move to the different schools and to the “head of the snake” auditoriums’ and cafeteria area or, from the outside, through the jaws of the snake you can access between the two auditoriums.
The Satelite House Complex
The Satelite House Complex in Ciudad Satelite has independent access to each house. Because the ground has a slope of 1.5m in relation to the street, this advantage was used to partially bury the houses.
Medullar part of the architectonic concept, it is the result of man’s natural space search, his historic and cultural roots as well as the constructive traditions of Mexican art. In the façade, the stone slope, a reminiscence of the Prehispanic past, was used as a containment wall, combined with “recocho” brick domes that receive the earth pressure.The trims were coated with polychrome frets in bas-relief using parts of the ceramic tile brought by the spaniards to Mexico.
Much has been written about Javier Senosiain and his work. Read the Korean Herald’s take on the man by clicking on the link.