Mexico-based S-AR Architects' Casa de Madera is an elegant home with a simple material palette that responds to how overbuilt cities have become. The meticulously put-together house for a single person or a small family demonstrates just how little is needed to create an impactful, beautiful, and useful building. Made of wood and located on an urban infill site, Case de Madera hovers above the ground on concrete cylinders. Panels of clear glass cladding facilitate excellent views of the home's surroundings while bringing in plenty of daylight.
The beauty of the ultra-minimalist Casa de Madera lies in the details. The house is built with various modular pinewood structural elements, metal, extruded polystyrene panels, and glass. It was developed based on elements of wood two, three and four-inches thick starting with a foundation of cast-in-place concrete cylinders. The elevated floor of the house is supported by sixteen 4″x4″ wood columns placed one meter apart. A grid of beams is set on the columns to support the floor decking. On one side of the house, a row of thin wood columns placed on top of the floor columns supports the roof. And on these elements rests another grid of beams which holds a light cover of plywood panels, covered with a thermal insulation and a thin metal roof for waterproofing.
There are only two elements inside the space, which has a very simple program – “sleep and study.” The first is a large wood cylinder that contains the bathroom that is vented by a chimney system. The other is a smaller cylinder that houses the sink and encloses the water pipes. The architects used two very simple passive cooling strategies to keep its residents comfortable. One is that they protected the living space from the sun and the other is that they lifted the entire house so that air can move under it and cool the house. Casa de Madera is “a poetic space talking more about emptiness rather than fullness and about an architecture more transparent than opaque,” says S-AR.