Javier Senosiain's spectacular Casa Organica, Mexico City
Mexico City has long been loved for its sense of green, so if you get the chance to visit after these troubled times of Covid-19, try to include Javier Senosiain's extraordinary Casa Organica (Organic House) at Naucalpan in the hills to the north of the city. You will never forget this property, designed in the shape of a shark (above) and surrounded by a garden filled with seasonal flowers. But it is the house that is truly remarkable - an undulating ferro-concrete construction with a labyrinth of rooms and inter-connecting carpeted passages that will return you to the womb.
Senosiain (1948) is an acclaimed Mexican architect, recognised as a key exponent of "organic" architecture (the harmonisation of humans and the environment). He completed The Organic House in 1984 and lived and worked here with his family for many years. At the time of writing he is a professor of architecture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the house was shown by one of his students.
Once inside, ovular windows afford different views of the garden outside.There are three main areas within the structure - one for daytime, one for night and one for work. But the entire house shares the theme of curved walls, ovular storage spaces and womb-like connecting tunnels, with pot-hole windows lighting the tunnels.
Circular indentations in the tunnel walls are filled with sculptures (above) and there is plenty of seating too; clever use of colours, combined with natural daylight, give different lighting effects as you move from one area of the house to another. This entire property is astonishing, although potentially overwhelming and somewhat reminiscent of Bilbo Baggins home in Tolkein's Hobbit.
Every door and window in the house is unique, and offer different views of the garden. One of the most spectacular vistas is the mouth of the shark, which the owner used as his office. And another part of the attraction of the property is the collections of inanimate objects throughout - from shells and stones, to sculptures. The Senosiain family has also left behind all their clothing and personal effects, all displayed in the ovular storage spaces that are such a distinctive feature of the property.
Visiting the property is by prior arrangement ONLY and you can book online at Casa Organica It is open Wednesday to Saturday and the tour in English is at 10.30 in the morning on these days. Cost is $480 (Mexican pesos) per person and with the current Covid restrictions, tours are strictly limited to six in number, with mandatory face masks. Regrettably it is not suitable for disabled visitors as the both garden and house present difficulties for wheelchair users.
I was lucky enough to visit Casa Organica as part of a trip to Mexico City to the annual ZonaMaco art fair. I would thoroughly recommend staying at Octavia Casa in the leafy neighbourhood of Condesa because it is well located for sightseeing and restaurants.