Raul Velasquez of RVOStudio deploys Casa Sukha’s staggering masses to create breathtaking vistas
AUG 25, 2021 | By Twinkle Tolani
Casa Sukha derives its name from the Sanskrit word that translates to happiness. Inspired by Charles Correa’s work and Le Corbusier’s Palace of Assembly in Chandigarh, Raul Velazquez of RVOSTUDIO with co-designers Alejandro Vera and Amaranta Aviles, has endowed Casa Sukha with a raw yet refined aesthetic defined by its rugged exteriors.
Fusing outdoor splendour and indoor quaintness courtesy of the rugged topography and extreme climatic conditions of San Pancho in Mexico—Casa Sukha by Raul Velasquez with co-designers Alejandro Vera and Amaranta Aviles of RVOSTUDIO is spread across 10,000 sq ft.
The steep slopes on all four corners of the house have lent it as many as five levels. On the bright side, the house has generous double-height foyers and a princely outdoor patio due to multiple levels.
In most residential designs, outdoor spaces are designed in line with the indoor spaces, or vice-versa. At Casa Sukha, the topographical elements left voids that are filled by bedrooms, kitchen, corridors, terraces and other spaces.
A rich timber door becomes the first interface between the outdoors and the house. Once you are through the door, the bustling hill road outside is long forgotten. Inside, a grand patio warmly welcomes one into the property.
Breath-taking views of the jungle and sea override the senses till a palm tree marking the double-height foyer grabs attention. A staircase adjacent to the palm tree leads to the prime social areas of the house, while the passageway to the right leads to more intimate spaces like bedrooms.
The main social areas consist of an enormous pool deck connected to the living area and other social pocket spaces. The living area has the main volume of the structure over it, tilted at an angle of 30 degrees.
“The most enjoyable part to design was the living area and the main volume overhanging above it,” says Velazquez. The entire structure is designed around the topography and not over it. The focus was to facilitate the natural flow of water and other resources, not to disrupt it.
The massive overhang above the living room spreads out over the deck for about 40 feet. It shades the deck area through all seasons—a prime example of how architectural elements can be multi-functional if employed to their full potential.
These features are not coincidental; they are designed interventions to combat harsh weather conditions. Even the landscaping on the property uses plants that require minimal water. They are native to Mexico and adapt to seasonal changes.
Employing isolated slabs and walls to cut down on air-conditioning and passive cross-ventilation design techniques are some other features in the house that promote sustainability.
Overall, the house has a brutalist look with a hint of medieval architecture. Meanwhile, the house does not shy away from its Mexican heritage and tropical context either.
The house is adorned with ‘honest colours’ as Raul Velasquez likes to call it. No surface is veneered or layered; the materials are left in their natural finishes. He believes, more than materials, it is the mass and volume of a structure that caters to the basic spatial requirements of an architectural project.