Maison Guéréo ︎

Situated 70km south of Dakar, the capital of Senegal, Maison Guéréo is a single-family house for a young family looking for a place of respite in the popular and touristic area of the Petite-Côte. The year-round high temperatures of the tropical Senegalese weather, in combination with the client’s explicit request for privacy, inform an architecture consisting of mass and void, solid walls and niches, to offer a secluded and intimate dwelling.

The project instrumentalizes the geometry of the trapezoidal site as the point of departure for the planimetric organization of the house and its volumetric expression. Different sets of parallel lines, each oriented to conform to the edges of the property, are drawn to define the boundaries of two prisms, one rotated against the other. These volumes and their intersections establish the location of thick load-bearing walls, stairs for vertical communication, and courtyards. The arrangement of these elements along the rotated grids emphasizes diagonality, creating moments of spatial tension that unfold throughout the space, producing curious perspectival interplays that enhance the character of the interior.

On the ground level the long perimetral walls nest into each other to create the enclosure, offering privacy from the vacant neighboring lots. Two large openings or “cracks” emerge: one serving as the main entrance from the street while the other opens onto the Somone Lagoon Reserve at the back. 

A triple-height courtyard space rises from the basement as a structuring element around which the vertical circulation of the house is organized. Additionally, the courtyard is as an important environmental device whose function is twofold: first, it acts as a light shaft to bring daylight into the different levels, and second, it is a protagonist in the passive cooling of the spaces, rising to capture the prevalent winds coming from the south-west inspired by the bâdgir or windcatchers of Persian architecture. The materiality of the project expands its environmental agenda through local and more sustainable means and methods of construction, specifically the use of rammed earth construction as a vernacular building technique that offers high material strength and excellent thermal properties.

Type: Residential
Area: 1,450 sq m
Location: Guéréo, Senegal
Year: 2017-2019
Team: Julián Palacio, Tanya Maneeintr, Helena Rong