Casa de los Cuatro Gatos

Mérida, Yucatán

“4 Gatos” House-Studio is a “self-constructed house” renovation project in Merida´s downtown. The original house wasn´t accomplished through a serious architectural reflection and so it had basic spatial and constructive problems, being the lack of light and ventilation some of them. Cramped in a long and stretched land plot, dark and humid rooms scattered united by a patio.

One main challenge was to provide light into the space; liberate it and give amplitude and unity. Due to budget and agenda issues, the project was developed in two stages: on the first one we created the house-studio of a painter next to the street; on the second at the background, we built an independent “house loft” for his retiree parents.

One property, two houses united by a common patio that had to allow coexistence but promote intimacy at the same time.

The house on the street side it’s all on one level, formed by a common space (living, dining, and kitchen) and can be transformed into a gallery if required. Also includes a studio, a garage and a bedroom with a bath. The house at the background, has two levels, a library to shelter an important book collection and the psychologist studio. It also has a kitchen, living room, dining room and two bedrooms with bath.

To fulfill this program we unified spaces tearing down walls, opened light & vent cubes to allow air shafts and provide light, we oriented towards the north and shaded east-west openings.

For an artist´s house, we proposed a white canvas that would change according to the itinerant art but contrast it with Yucatan´s handmade tile floors.

For the street facade and following zoning restrictions, we emphasized sobriety adding just some details to suggest the dreamy world that lies within.