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Desert sanctuary reflects local flora

Out There | January 11, 2014 | By:

Cactaceae 1Many head to the desert for reflection and mediation. Mexican architect Iván Juárez has created a one- or two-person structure that “interacts” with its surrounding habitat to facilitate just such introspection.

Reflecting the geometry of the surrounding desert plants, Juárez’ enclosure “Cactaceae” is situated among the cacti of Mexico’s Tropic of Cancer desert region. The folding structure’s design incorporates the many forms found in the flowering cacti; the design also helps reflect and mitigate the daytime desert heat.

The shelter, inspired by the traditional Mexican art technique known as “papel picado” (paper cutting), is made from rigid, semi-transparent triangular membranous panels that fold. The patterned walls filter sunlight during daylight hours, while at night interior lighting leavens the barren surroundings with a delicate glow. Its appearance changes throughout with the changing light and shadows, creating “a visual dialogue with its surroundings and [it] shows all of the visual and ambient effects that nature has on architecture.”

Juárez, an architect, teacher and critic, is founder of X-Studio, located in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. He describes the studio as “a multidisciplinary space oriented toward reflection, promotion, research and action in different fields of contemporary expression.”

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