On a hilly site near Mexico City, architect Javier Senosiain has created a remarkable home inspired by the shape of a peanut.
When it was completed in 1984, the 1,873-square-foot Organic House was ahead of its time. Senosiain designed the unique home to seamlessly integrate with the natural landscape: “The green dune wraps itself around the inside spaces almost completely, rendering it almost invisible so that, from the outside, all one sees are grass, bushes, trees, and flowers.”
“To take a walk in the garden is to walk over the roof of the house itself without even realizing it,” says Senosiain. The Mexican architect is well known for his organic architecture—to date, he has built houses inspired by the shape of a snake, a shark, a flower, and a mushroom.
Modeled after the shape of a peanut shell, the house is composed of two cavernous oval spaces connected by a narrow passageway. One chamber contains the private areas, which are used mainly at night, while the brighter chamber contains the social areas.
Although the interior of the house feels like an underground cave, it’s connected with the lush landscape by a large window.
“The house, which includes a living room, dining room, and kitchen, and another place for sleeping, with a dressing room and bath, was based on the elemental functions required by man: a place to live, and fellowship with others,” says Senosiain.
Taking into consideration the impact of bioclimatic conditions on inhabitants’ physical and psychological well-being, Senosiain used trees and bushes to create green barriers that filter harsh sunlight, keep the interiors cool, and protect the house from dust and noise pollution. The Organic House’s grassy green roof protects against heat and cold to maintain a comfortable interior temperature.
Upon descending a spiraling staircase, one arrives at the first oval chamber where the living, eating, and sleeping areas are located. From here, a narrow tunnel leads towards the second chamber where the sleeping nooks are located.
“This semi-buried house turned out to be sunnier and brighter than conventional houses because the windows can be placed anywhere, and the domes allow the entrance of sunlight from above. Ventilation is facilitated by the aerodynamic form of the dwelling, which allows free circulation of air throughout,” says Senosiain.
The architect sought to create spaces adaptable to the human body, “similar to the womb, an animal’s lair, the troglodytes who carved a niche for themselves out of the earth, and the igloo,” he adds.