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An Organic Oasis

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Why live in a two-story bore when you could be living in an organic piece of art?

Senosiain Arquitectos designs naturally stunning homes that look like modern art but function like your next-door neighbor's bungalow. In fact, with their bright terracotta colors, curvy walls, spiral staircases, and natural touches, Senosiain's designs look like something found in Alice's Wonderland. All that's missing is the Cheshire Cat.

But unlike Alice’s imaginary world, these homes are real. True, the shapes range from shells and whales to flowers and snakes, but the homes are every bit as actual as their owners — one of whom is architect, historian, and creator of Senosiain Arquitectos, Javier Senosiain Aguilar. The shape of his home? A shark.

The ''Shark,'' located in Mexico City, houses Aguilar and his family. Curving walls and rounded edges are everywhere, beds are nestled inside nooks, and winding tunnels lead walkers throughout the house. Rooms are partially submerged, vines climb along the walls of the kitchen, and almost every piece of furniture is attached to the structure like an appendage. All told, it’s a decidedly organic atmosphere.

''With furniture integrated into the architecture, you have maximum contact with the floor, the way campesinos in the countryside or people in Asia do,'' says Aguilar. ''It’s a very physical sensation of freedom and spontaneity.''

Aguilar’s style is similar to that of famed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright, well-known for his organic architecture, designed over 1,000 projects, including ''Fallingwater'' in Bear Run, Pennsylvania. A stream and a waterfall flow beneath part of the home, a result of Wright’s desire to bring the homeowners closer to nature. His organic architecture is mirrored in Aguilar’s style, known as bio-architecture, which studies ''the natural principles of animal and human constructions from several different perspectives and looks at what gives origin and shape to built form.''

Two of Aguilar’s designs, the Nautilus and the Quetzalcoatl Nest, were created in true bio-architecture style.

The Nautilus

Shaped like a seashell, the Nautilus was built in Mexico City in 2006. In functional terms, the design includes a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living area. However, unlike a typical home, the Nautilus spirals and turns, creating crevices and pathways unique to its shape. The surfaces are smooth. The colors are bright — day-glow windows look like modern stained glass.

The Quetzalcoatl Nest

From a bird’s-eye view, this structure has the shape of a candy cane. Close up, however, and you instantly notice its serpentine features: everything from eyes and fangs to a coiled tail is built into the structure. Round windows in each room create the illusion of the serpent’s eyes. And a patio, revealing the beauty surrounding the house, takes the shape of the serpent’s open mouth, where two pieces of tile hang from the top like fangs.

The home, built in 2005, is located on an estate in Mexico. As an important aspect of the home’s design, the natural surroundings were taken into consideration before building began. According to the Senosiain Arquitectos website, ''The lot had an irregular surface due to a ravine with oak trees located all along the length of the property. The irregular surface became a challenge for the project, particularly for the location of the Quetzalcoatl Serpent. The green areas were not to be touched. Instead it was decided to take advantage of the slopes and depressions in the terrain.''

Like Alice’s Wonderland, these designs stir up ones imagination with their bright colors, animalistic qualities, and surrealistic approaches to living. But Aguilar’s designs don’t end there. Along with his organic creations, Aguilar has created a monastery, an open chapel, and several pyramid-shaped buildings, among others.

Visit his website to view more Senosiain creations: Arquitectura Orgánica.
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