Catalana Remodel

Located in the high elevations of Tijuana’s hillside residential developments, this remodel of a revivalist house constitutes a renovation and addition in the manner of an architectural amalgam.

The original home, constructed in the 1980s, typifies the suburban residential design of its time – a hybridized composition of informal, open floor plans interspersed with historical architectural elements and motifs. Along with the need for additional space in existing rooms, and a new detached gymnasium and home office, the project begins with a desire to create more fluid and varied connections with the outdoors, as well as a renewed sense of form, space and material expression.

Throughout the existing structure, a hierarchy of architectural elements is drawn to determine the extent of intervention needed to create the greatest effect. The resultant split divides those elements which can remain intact from those which are essential in the formal and spatial definition of the project, thereby outlining the scope of the house’s transformation. Columns and pilasters with classical decoration are stripped to bare form, arched drop ceilings are replaced with planar surfaces, floor level changes are simplified and consolidated, and finish materials are cleared to introduce a more limited palette designed to carry light through interior spaces and create continuity between interior and exterior. Limestone, regional cantera stone, smooth plaster, and walnut are utilized in addition, renovation and new construction alike. Wherever possible, new openings are introduced to create visual and physical links to outdoor terraces and a newly reformed garden, previously at almost a half story below ground floor but now defined as a continuation of the same level. In conjunction, a planar slab element creates an extension of the interior ceiling, shading an outdoor area and providing a new terrace for the master suite above, anchored by an armature that frames views of the distant landscape while offering privacy between floors. In every instance, added space is delimited by the physical edges and forms of the existing house. By creating tangential and coplanar relationships with existing elements, two ultimately contrasting projects are assimilated through formal clarity and abstraction.

Completed 2014

Project Team
Gabriel Huerta, Angelos Palaskas, Jorge Velez

Project Consultants

Structural Engineer
Ingeneria Estructural y Urbana 33

Associate Architect
Liliana Alvarez de Lutteroth

Exterior Finishes / Waterproofing
Jeff Jensen

Facade Consultant
Vidrio y Aluminio Magaña

Brady Architectural Photography