Volt House – Revisited

On approaching Casa Volta it appears there are three brick vaults floating in the middle of the dense Mexican, Oaxacan coastal vegetation. A small path leads deep into the vegetation, the vaults disappear. Then a clearing opens, and a small bench appears next to a long pond surrounded on both sides by symmetrical columns and its reflections on the water.
Designed by Ambrosi Etchegaray the home appears like an abandoned temple. The house has a rigorous, Kahnian order. It is a rectangular plan subdivided in six alternating rectangular areas: three open courtyards, and three spaces covered by the vaults. The bedrooms and bathrooms are located in two vaults which open and close with timber and reed doors; the kitchen and living and dining area are located within the 3rd vault which is always open.
At the centre of the buildings, water is a constant presence, as a reminder of the closeness of the sea, which is 300 feet away. Casa Volta stands as a reminder that simplicity is key. More than a house, this building is a small haven for its inhabitants in the middle of the jungle.


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