Shell Houses

Here's Everything You Must Know About the Eccentric Shell Houses

Belonging to a genius architect from New Mexico, the shell house project was at the same time retro, unlike the high-tech tendencies nowadays, and closer to the natural. This vision astonishes us by its practical and unusual spirit, by its simplicity and innovations.
Historyplex Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
The construction of shell houses comprise the old and the new harmoniously mixed together, creating some gorgeous houses that remind us of fairytale. These homes can give its inhabitants a sense of tranquility, relaxation, inspiration, and a sort of oasis from the mad world outside.
Javier Senosiain is yet another example of the brilliance with which Mexican architects have surprised the world. The so-called Nautilus House is in fact a most charming shell-shaped house. Gaston Bachelard says about Nautilus that not the shape in itself, but the creation of this shape is mysterious. We could say that Senosiain has created in fact a sort of space poetry in which the exterior is perfectly combined with the interior, and everything seems to evolve spontaneously. Nothing seems artificial.
Upon entering the Nautilus, one can notice that the walls, the ceiling and floor are not parallel like in most houses. Everything seems to be molded in the smallest details, in a continuous manner. After climbing down a few steps, close to the multicolored facade that can be noticed from the outside, there is a long living-room full of vegetation. The effect created in the interior is even more intriguing. Everything seems in its perfect place, and the landscape outside pictures the beautiful mountains. The shell-shaped house also includes some dormitories, a completely-equipped kitchen and a bathroom decorated with sea elements. The walls are only 5 cm thick, but the ferrocement-based system chosen by Senosiain ensures resistance, isolation and protection. Ventilation is ensured by two tunnels which are placed under the building and which bring fresh air from outside, be it cold or warm, depending on the season. The air has the natural circulating movement of a spiral, going up towards the highest point of the house.
But who are the inhabitants of this unusual home? Apparently, it was a young couple with two children. They used to live in a normal, rather conventional house and decided to look for a change, and build a more integrated into nature kind of place. Also, the model underwent a great number of changes until it achieved the model required for the construction of Nautilus. The general idea was to make the inhabitants feel like the inhabitant of a beautiful shell, like a sort of mollusk that can walk from one room to another, being part of a symbiosis with the huge cloister of a fossil. There is no division of social life in this home. The area is three-dimensionally harmonious and the fourth dimension is noticeable when spiraling across the stairs, much like floating over the vegetation that is planted next to them. These elements give the house a sort of Sci-Fi touch, or a very enticing uniqueness to the least.
There is yet another seashell-shaped house still in Mexico. While the previous one bore the name of Nautilus House, this one is called Conch Shell House. This one is built on an island called Isla Mujeres. It belongs to a famous artist named Octavio Ocampo. This artist was born in Mexico in 1943, and studied Fine Arts in the capital and then in San Francisco, where he graduated in 1974. Since his early age, he proved great artistic talents and developed a new style in painting and sculpture. This new approach was based on plural forms. His metamorphic style is based on the technique of superposing and aligning shapes in order to create different images. He was also a good actor and dancer.
The material out of which The Conch Shell House was built is still rather conventional; concrete. But there were also used recycled materials. The interior part of the house also remind us of a seashell. Also, the living-room is round; it has no corners, no sharp angles. Also, there have been used a lot of beach items and seashells for the entire decoration of the house. The bathroom upstairs has a sink made of conch shell, whereas the faucets are manufactured out of coral.