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Peter Pichler

26th Jul 2016

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Italian-born Peter Pichler spent the early part of his architectural career gaining experience on an international level, having studied in Vienna and California, and worked with likes of Zaha Hadid in London and Rem Koolhaas in Rotterdam. He has now established his own architecture and design firm in Milan, but continues to engage in projects further afield.

Peter Pichler Architects has dedicated itself to developing innovative approaches to contemporary architecture, urbanism and design. It prioritises the appropriate integration of architecture into its surroundings, developing intelligent building solutions, and beautiful structures whose form is elevated by function.

One of their most recent developments is located in Jalisco, Mexico, on the west coast of the Pacific Ocean. It embraces the full conversion of an existing house from the 1960s.

The house is situated on a road close to the beach on a rectangular plot, surrounded by small, typical two-storey houses. In keeping with the vernacular of its locale, the house cuts a similar silhouette to the surrounding structures, but is, upon closer inspection, an entirely different animal. Affording more lateral space than is initially apparent, the volume of the two-storey building is divided by three atria, which allow natural light to penetrate through to the core. A double-height ceiling at the entrance of the villa provides an aesthetically pleasing dichotomy of levelling within the interiors.

Playing to the strength of its surroundings, the upper floor is home to the master and second bedroom, which have views onto the small courtyard and sea-facing terrace, respectively. On the west side, a vast aperture in the façade offers maximum daylight, which can also be blocked out with white aluminium shutters for sun shading.

The interiors are clad in natural wood and stone elements and raw concrete; all materials have been used for the walls, floors and even for integrated furniture pieces like the beds and the large horizontal sink in the bathroom. Giving weight to the house’s organic look is the unapologetic, rather heavy-handed application of these crude finishes – the intention behind each treatment is brilliantly apparent. This is played too in part, by the forms comprising the internal structure. Linking the ground and first floors, an exposed spiral staircase, much like a skeletal cross-section, almost seems to be a physical representation of the house’s ‘bare bones’.

Given just as much consideration as the internal finishes, although through more literal application, the entire front facade of the building (and some parts of the courtyard) is covered by custom handmade tiles that have been inspired by a traditional Mexican pattern. The use of the tiles within the project reflects a local tradition that is expressed through contemporary design.

Peter Pichler Architects; peterpichler.eu

Instagram: @peterpichler_architecture