While angular, orthogonal spaces are generally cheaper and easier to build, many people find organic shapes more pleasing to the senses, probably because it imparts a subtle connection to nature. Mexican architect Javier Senosiain's work in what he calls "bio-architecture" arises from his belief that organic forms connect us back to our roots of living in harmony -- rather than in conflict -- with nature.
Built for a young couple in Mexico City, the creative brief was to construct a non-conventional home that follows nature's principles of design, as seen in the forms of plants, animals and in this case, the logarithmic spiral of sea shells. As you enter, you do feel like you are being welcomed into the belly of a living creature.
The expression of nature's principles has extraordinary results in the Nautilus House. The main space feels like stepping into a plant-infused womb of a giant organism. You are surrounded by a space that has no sharp corners, and is filled with natural light from above, as well as light that is filtered by a wall of stained glass.
According to the website (Google translation):
Upon entering from the outside, you go up a staircase and into the Nautilus, past a large stained glass window. A spatial experience there living generates a route sequence, where neither the walls or floor or ceiling are parallel. It is a fluid space in three dimensions where you can perceive the continuous dynamic of the fourth dimension, walking on the spiral staircase, with the sensation of floating on vegetation.
The more private spaces like TV room, bedroom and bathroom are located within the center of the spiral, accessible by a spiralling staircase.
The mosaic-encrusted bathroom counter feels earthy and simultaneously elegant, and has a real seashell embedded in as the customized water spout.
Check out a video tour (a bit pixellated):
In this video, Senosiain explains and shows the construction process behind the Nautilus House and other works:
Senosiain, who has been building and teaching his vision of sustainable bio-architecture since the 1980s as both an architect and professor, says that there is a humanistic approach to his process, expressed in the flowing curves of his structures. Many of them are built with ferrocement, which has the "advantage of offering continuity between the ground plane, walls and roof," -- creating a feeling that the building is emerging from the ground itself. In the video below, he poses the question that underlies all of his work:
What is the most profound idea of space that we have -- the profoundest idea of space that man has, conscious or unconscious?
For Senosiain, profound space is not found in the straight line, the box, or the corner. For him, they engender a kind of spiritual death, where people eventually lose "creativity, spontaneity and liberty," even ultimately being buried in a box coffin. From the way the Nautilus House has been conceived and built, it appears that for Senosiain, space and how it is expressed and experienced is a critical catalyst, where the ever-changing feelings and impressions transmitted by these kinds of forms are a way to stimulate a more harmonious co-existence with nature. It's an inspiring take on how form itself can play a role in shifting consciousness. More over at Arquitectura Organica.