The small home Enso II, a masterful architectural ode to Guanajuato’s storied past and legends, emerges as a harmonious fusion of history and modernity, echoing the resilient spirit of the city through its stone-clad design and deliberate homage to the legendary Pípila.
Guanajuato, Mexico—In the heart of Mexico’s historical landscape, where echoes of heroism and legends reverberate through time, an architectural marvel stands as a testament to the intertwined narratives of materiality, history, and the human spirit. Enso II, a small home designed by HW Studio, emerges from the very essence of Guanajuato’s constructive identity, capturing the essence of the region’s rich heritage and paying homage to its legendary figures like Pípila.
A Constructive Identity Carved in Stone
Guanajuato, a city renowned for its vibrant history and colonial architecture, holds a distinctive constructive identity that echoes through its streets and structures. This identity, a blend of traditional artistry, cultural expression, and historical significance, has been meticulously preserved by the architects of Enso II. HW Studio’s deep-seated connection to Guanajuato’s essence led them to choose stone as the primary material for their architectural masterpiece.
Stone, a foundational element in Guanajuato’s cultural tapestry, finds new life in Enso II. Drawing inspiration from the region’s ancient aqueducts, traditional kitchen utensils, and legends like Pípila, the architects chose stone as a medium to encapsulate Guanajuato’s history within the walls of the structure. The choice of stone was not just a pragmatic decision; it was a tribute to the city’s roots and a conscious dialogue between the built environment and its natural surroundings.
A Storied Past Carved in Stone
Throughout its history, Guanajuato has been shaped by the hands of stone artisans, whose craftsmanship has left an indelible mark on the city’s landscape. The historical buildings that adorn Guanajuato’s streets, such as the University of Guanajuato and the Iglesia de la Compañia de Jesús, stand as testaments to the enduring beauty and resilience of stone construction.
The city’s architectural legacy, deeply intertwined with volcanic tuffs like the felsic volcanoclastic Loseros tuff and the Bufa rhyolite, showcases both the artistry and the challenges of building with stone. These materials, while providing a timeless elegance to Guanajuato’s structures, have also borne the brunt of weathering and deterioration over time. It is within this context that Enso II’s choice of stone takes on added significance, a conscious homage to the past while embracing the challenges of preservation for the future.
Pípila: A Hero’s Tale Etched in Stone
As the sun sets over Guanajuato’s iconic hills, the legend of Pípila still dances in the evening breeze. The story of this unlikely hero, born Juan Amaro, resonates with the spirit of resilience that defines Guanajuato. Crippled by physical and learning disabilities, Pípila’s journey from a humble miner with a derisive nickname to a symbol of bravery mirrors the city’s enduring struggle and triumph.
The El Pipila monument, a towering statue overlooking the city, commemorates his audacious feat during Mexico’s fight for independence. In an act of unparalleled courage, Pípila strapped a massive stone to his back, shielded himself from enemy arrows, and set fire to a wooden door guarding the fortified Alhondiga de Granaditas. This daring act opened the doors to victory, inspiring a nation to rise against oppression. Pípila’s legacy is a testament to the indomitable spirit that courses through Guanajuato’s veins, a spirit that now finds its echo in Enso II.
Enso II: An Architectural Symphony
Enso II’s architectural narrative unfolds through its meticulous design and purposeful divisions. The cruciform plan, dividing the space into four distinct quadrants, imbues the structure with a sense of purpose and harmony. Each quadrant embraces a unique “vocation,” weaving a story of human connection with the environment.
The lower right quadrant, a gateway to inhabitants, cradles an endemic garden, a sanctuary that welcomes and protects life. The second quadrant, housing cars, stands as a tribute to Guanajuato’s affinity with nature, ensuring shade for both vehicles and trees. A stone wall, reminiscent of Guanajuato’s fortified past, stands guard, a silent testament to the harmony between architecture and landscape.
The third quadrant unveils a one-bedroom sanctuary, where public and private spaces find equilibrium within a single volume. This deliberate separation nods to the city’s past, where history and modernity converge. In the fourth quadrant, an office pierces the sky, an emblem of contrast that pays homage to the iconic volumes of Santa Brígida mine. This architectural ballet is a symphony of past and present, a tribute to the city’s enduring spirit.
HW Studio: Crafters of Silence and Serenity
HW Studio’s inception amidst societal turmoil and unrest is a testament to the power of architecture as a conduit for change. Rooted in a fusion of Eastern and Western principles, the studio’s philosophy revolves around crafting spaces that evoke serenity, tranquility, and silence—a respite from the cacophony of the world.
The very name, HW Studio, encapsulates its ethos. The ‘H’ symbolizes silence, while the ‘W’ draws from the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi – a concept that defies explanation, embodying the essence of HW Studio’s creations. This pursuit of inner peace through conscious contemplation resonates with Guanajuato’s own journey, where each stone bears witness to a storied history of resilience and triumph.
A Living Legend in Stone
Enso II stands as an architectural embodiment of Guanajuato’s spirit, a living testament to the city’s historical identity and its legends. Through the choice of materials, meticulous design, and a deep connection to the past, HW Studio has breathed life into a structure that captures the essence of Guanajuato’s constructivist heritage.
As the sun sets over the El Pipila monument, its torch illuminating the city below, Enso II stands as a beacon of unity between history and modernity, legend and reality, materiality and spirit. In the heart of Guanajuato, where stone walls whisper tales of courage and resilience, Enso II etches its name into the annals of architectural marvels, forever intertwining the narratives of past and present.