kristen cooper

kristen cooper


Conserving cultural and ecological heritage of the colonial hacienda system through place making

San Martin is an agricultural village in the Sierra Madre coastal mountains of Mexico. As a colonial cattle and sugar hacienda, its people live among traces of structures for public use and controlling water. The presence of water in San Martin still serves as a catalyst for social interaction and is the basis for the cultural existence of these rural communities. A canal from mountain waters provides several locations for village residents to picnic, play and wash clothes. The canal and the water it brings are two of the life-driving forces in the village, suporting utilitarian and social functions.

The project is a proposal for a small public building, a pool house of approximately 3,000 square feet. The intervention and site maximizes the relationship of public space to the landscape while emphasizing the practical and symbolic role of water. The essence of the project is to channel and gather the flows of existing water from the site, but also to create a new origin of clean water to fill vessels, containers and cisterns with functions of recreation, health and wellness, reflection, and hygeine. The view of the adjacent water body and landscape is framed by the public space features in the building: the terrace at ground level and the elevated balcony. Volumes of water with differing levels, depth, and light are used to organize the space in the building.

  • For Preservation Institute: Caribbean Design Workshop in Jalisco, Mexico, University of Florida

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