Casa Sin Nombre is a Minimalist's Paradise

The starting brief for HW Studio’s latest project may sound slightly different from what you’d expect. Safety was paramount for the couple whom Casa Sin Nombre was to become home for, as they had recently experienced a robbery in their home and, as a result, felt uneasy about any ostentation.

Interpreting this, the architects set about developing a scheme that felt luxurious for the owners, while to passersby at street level could be considered almost unremarkable. “They were looking for a very discreet, austere project without ostentatious ornaments, with high walls, and without windows facing the outside,” the architects said. “It is understood then, that this would be the way in which architecture could restore their loss of sense of security.”

Inside, they wanted to continue an extreme minimalist feel – a stark difference from the previous iteration of the house, which was once been filled with religious objects and baroque decorations. “They were looking for the opposite: a cold and even sterile minimalism that was sometimes difficult to digest even for us,” the architects add.1 of 4

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Cesar Bejar

However, this connection to religion did creep through into the concept, albeit slightly more abstractly than using ornate iconography. Looking at the architecture of spaces of worship, the architects developed a scheme that they likened to a convent, with spaces arranged around a series of courtyards. The Cathedral of Morelia and the numerous baroque churches near the site of the house also provided design touchpoints and the ways in which they had been used over time. “The house reminds us of the arcades under which pilgrims and travelers were covered around the courtyard of the San Agustin convent, sown with orange trees to feed and give drink,” they add. “Thus, the architecture, in this case, seeks to provide a solution to the unpleasant circumstance they experienced, helped by a deep-rooted faith that is reinforced by legible forms, light, and space.”

Take a look around Casa Sin Nombre above, and for more architecture, check out the brand new Gilder Center in New York City, which has been designed by Studio Gang to feature curvaceous caverns.
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