Nautilus House
The Nautilus was built, as if stranded, at the bottom of the turn-around where the piece of land is located, in an upward summit. It is limited, in three of its adjoining properties, by tall buildings. The fourth adjoining property, to the west, has a wide view of a green area with mountains in the horizon. Since the first studies, the construction area was defined at the back of the real estate. At the front the pedestrian and car access and the outdoor garden; leaving only one façade, the so called fifth façade in architectonic language. For the development of the design, we started from a deep observation of Nature’s principles; to shape the area that would be inhabited. An observation that would let us perform, as Bachelard would have said, a poem of space where the concept flows from the inside: an organism dwelling. That is how it emerged, almost spontaneously, and without impositions. We find the shape instead of giving shape, it is released from the outside; in other words, we attempt to help things to discover their shape. The model’s work led the project through different changes until we realized that the space asked for the Nautilus. When observing it from its mouth, you perceive the protruding belly that seemed to float in the empty space; a space that at the same time was volume. The shape might suit the project needs without being forced. We would locate the TV room in this big protruding belly, in a natural way. Constantly, nature is the biggest source of inspiration but the respect thereto consists in observing it, extracting its essence, its principles. To interpret and not to copy it. When entering from the outside you go up by 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 traveled, where neither the walls nor the floor or the ceiling are parallel. It is a fluid space in three dimensions that can be perceived in the continuous dynamic of the fourth dimension when you walk in spiral on the stairs, with a sense of floating over the vegetation. The living room emerging from the inside garden and the dining room table coming out from the wall are two outstanding elements. A continuous, large, integral area liberating shapes and with changing lights that follow the natural rhythm of man’s movements. The social life of this home flows inside the Nautilus without any divisions. Going up the spiral stairs, continuing through the hall, going through the television room sheltered in the Nautilus belly and flowing over the spiral stairs to the study room, where you can view the mountain’s landscape. Behind the Nautilus are the bedrooms, dressing rooms, bathrooms and the kitchen; i. e. the services and intimate area. The metaphor is to feel like an internal inhabitant of the snail, like a mollusk going from one chamber to another, like a symbiotic dweller of a huge fossil maternal cloister. In the mollusk mantle, the glands located along the edge produce a calcium carbonate liquid, which hardens the shell shape. In certain way, the liquid mixes crystals in different layers that increase the strength of the outside walls, leaving a mother-of-pearl finish in the inside. Similar to the mollusk slime is the ferrocement, a construction element used to build this house; it is a plastic material that can be molded almost like modeling clay in the hands of a child. The grounding, walls, floors, ceilings and furniture work like a 2` thick ferrocement eggshell. It is worth mentioning that what gives the structural rigidity is the main shape in continuous spiral, of double curvature. Literally, the dwelling place is a big snail which structure works as such, an evocative shell: resistance, protection, shelter ..... For ventilation, there are two underground ducts. Due to their location, when the outside air enters the house, it gets cold or hot according to the year’s season, during hot weather the air is chilled and refreshes the house flowing through the snail in spiral pushing the hot air to the top and going out through the upper part of the Nautilus. On the other hand, when the outdoor temperature is cold, the air that comes in through the duct warms the house. Undoubtedly, the snail determined the continuity of each of the formal, structural, spatial and functional details of this building. The demand drove us to the wisdom of the original to find the solutions to our doubts and to the problems.


15 photos and 5 drawings

Building Activity

  • Kiril Pavlov
    Kiril Pavlov updated 23 media
    about 4 years ago via
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  • Saúl Ruiz
    Saúl Ruiz commented
    Diseño orgánico equilibrado entre lo interno y externo.
    about 5 years ago via iPhone