The living room is the first space contained in the great double height of this room, which also houses the library; its great spatial flow is subdivided into enclosures conformed by the introduction of medium-height wall planes.
Pictures taken in the early years of the house show that these subdivisions did not exist in the original design. It can be affirmed that this is the result of the daily questioning of the experience of living in this space. Despite the multiple scales and uses, the unity of the room is preserved and further underscored by an outflow of the perspective of the beams covering it, as well as by the bookcase built on one of its sides, supporting all the spaces in the room.
The hundreds of books in this library, as Alfonso Alfaro has written, “are the traces of an itinerary that have the value of an exceptional testimony: a series of paper personalities, intimate presences, maybe the most immediate ones for this solitary of incandescent affections… the printed characters could have been a vehicle for introspection and a mute dialogue, but their corporeity was not reduced to an instrumental function. Books were not transparent witnesses, they were objects, textured and limited matter, luminous realities as nuances of human skin”.
A library work area, fitted in the space between the two white, medium-height planes, contains a thick wood table, which forms a single piece with the bookcase in the corner.
This recess made out of low walls reappears as a tangent in a sequence that begins to be outlined, now as a spiral, and discovers head-on the famous wood cantilevered staircase. A softly unfolding abstract plane contrasts with the stone solidity of the staircase in the hall.
A minimal synthesis is proposed here — in one single plastic gesture, a staircase emerges from the same material of the door to which it leads. The view rises here and is lost, hidden in the mezzanine, where the rhythm of the beams submerges.
Protected by a second screen and sharing the room’s space with the staircase, the armchair corner appears in the company of a large table at the foot of the high window that faces the street. Lacking any pretension, this comfortable, sober furniture of the same austere style is also found in the private rooms.
Once again, the two planes appear in a white tonal sequence, transformed by the profound penumbra of the room. They pick up the perspective of the whole room and head towards the recovered memory of the garden at the other extreme. The garden is now seen not through one, but through multiple archways created with the use of the structural elements of the room.
Opposite to this sequence, which frames the opening leading to the garden, a reticular opaque window receives only filtered light from the street, as well as some shadows from the trees on the sidewalk. The intention to project the volume of the window towards the street is clear. It can be seen as a compositional resource on the façade designed to create an appearance of greater thickness on the wall in order to harmonize with the monumentality of the room’s space while, at the same time, building a light box that controls its intensity before it floods the space.
The window, therefore, excludes the sight and noise of the street and definitively draws out the protagonist presence within the house: the weight and the intensity of silence, which does not only exist as a mere absence.
© Fundación de Arquitectura Tapatía Luis Barragán A. C.