Palermo Lake House
Palermo Lake is a countryside residence that includes the ideals of a family whose greatest aspiration is to live outside the urban boundaries within a natural, remote, and peaceful environment. Despite its palpable isolating condition due to its location outside the urban fabric, the purpose of the project is completely the opposite, for this is a house designed to encourage those social activities enjoyed by the family, activities revolving around its passion for equestrian activities, water sports, ecology, and, above all, country living. The party is determined by the front areas exploitable for such purposes, where the south and the west, which align with the lake and the polo field respectively, define the outline of the house, its landscapes, and mainly the unifying thread which harbors all the possible public outdoor recreation areas in a linear promenade, going from the main access to the property, developing along the lake, and ending in the social terrace, crowning the head of the polo field with its shadow.
This design strategy led to a linear and continuous public spine from which the project emerges, and its a center point along the journey turned became the optimal location for the most important space and the heart of this dwelling -the “great hall”- which purpose is to concentrate, under the same double-height space, all the possible activities involving family and social dynamics. Aside from being an overwhelming introduction to its interior, an efficient distributor of the public and private program in two levels, and a reconfigurable environment, the great hall is the space that allows for light, natural air circulation coming from the south, and the constant breeze of the lake to flow into the house, thus refreshing from the public area to the deepest private spaces of the program in the upper level, in order to keep comfortable interior temperatures during all seasons, in a region with semidesert and warm climate lasting 10 months per year. During the cold months, these large openings oriented towards the south will allow sunlight to access and generate solar gain while heating the interior, especially the private areas of the residence.
Adjacent and around the great hall in the lower level, complimentary spaces are assembled, emphasizing the gourmet kitchen, cellar, dining room, playroom, terrace, and family memory room. Communicated with the great hall, as a semiprivate mezzanine in the upper level, the family room may be found; an open and continuous space that adapts to the daily necessities and temporary family dynamics. This area brings together, like a hinge, the two private parts of the program which are located at opposite ends; the master bedroom and the children’s bedrooms. The direction of each of these areas was determined based on the most preferred view according to the users, orienting the children’s bedrooms to the lake due to their fondness for water sports, and the master bedroom, to the polo field, on account of their passion for the equestrian life.
With both ends cantilevering to underline it´s hierarchical ends – the main entrance and the shaded social terrace- the architectural form of the project is defined by a load-bearing mass of reinforced concrete which, apart from giving evidence of its structure, serves as a canvas on which quarry stones from Queretaro, recycled timber from surrounding former railroad tracks, national hardwood finishes treated with oil and steel structures and fixtures tamed by the local workmanship, complement the material palette of this architectural composition. Finally, the goal behind the outward appearance of the house is to provide a timeless countryside environment, which, despite the fact of formally speaking of its era, it is still open to time’s intervention and patina where we believe the weatherization of the selected materials and nature’s takeover of its concrete canvas, shall end this work which, as wine does, pretends to age gracefully, improve over the years, and acquire a greater sense of belonging with its site and context.