The house-observatory in Roca Blanca by the artist Gabriel Orozco, designed in collaboration with the architect Tatiana Bilbao, who is also Mexican, blends a principle of settlement camouflaged into the landscape with a location aware device.
The house, set into a rocky promontory overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is a 1:1 replica of one of the structures that forms the Jant ar Mantar astronomical observatory, built in Delhi in 1724, which the artist visited in 1996.
A theme particularly relevant to other famous solitary camouflaged residences set into rocky panoramic high ground, starting from the promontory-house Malaparte by Adalberto Libera in Capri, Cini Boeri in La Maddalena, Villa Amanzi in Phuket, Thailand.
The genetic code of the original observatory which inspired Orozco is conserved and translated into the idea that a home continues to be operational just as a visual device within its natural environment.
In fact, the convex section of the panoramic outdoor swimming pool determines a circulation of waves at its edges and all the views are always facing outwards.
The presence of water in the centre of the house, resting on then floor and in connection with the sky reveals a kind of mystic paradigm of the observatory’s spatial concept.
At night, in the centre of this sphere one can feel the temperature of the water and perceive, in a certain position, the force of gravity. When darkness is all around, one feels as if one is floating in space.
The total absence of any kind of stylistic obsession whatsoever makes the action of this visual architectural device even stronger and more convincing.
“The project is based on the Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory, which was built in Delhi in 1724. I first visited that observatory in 1996. It took a little time for me to understand that I wanted a house inspired by that example, so I needed an architect who could help me with the permits, with the engineering, the construction and of course with the technical drawings.
The main ideas, the whole concept – and also the circulation within, the distribution and the measurement of the rooms – all derive from that initial decision. Tatiana was perfect or the realization of this house”. Gabriel Orozco
Concept: Gabriel Orozco
Design: Tatiana Bilbao with Gabriel Orozco & Carlos Leguizamo
Structure: Jesús del Castillo, Ramiro González Dávila
Photo: Iwan Baan
Article by Marco Rinaldi