The Observatory House in Roca Blanca was created by the artist Gabriel Orozco, while Tatiana Bilbao was an executive architect. The house, set into a rocky promontory overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is a 1:1 replica of one of the structures that forms the Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory, built in Delhi in 1724, which Orozco visited in 1996. Going back to a theme particularly relevant to other famous solitary camouflaged residences set into rocky panoramic high ground, starting from the promontory-house, the Casa Malaparte by Adalberto Libera in Capri, next there is the house-bunker designed mother Cini Boeri in La Maddalena, the house-observatory in Roca Blanca which is made up of an exchange of glances: from the landscape and towards the landscape.
The genetic code of the original observatory which inspired Orozco is conserved and translated into the idea that a home continues to be operational just as a visual device within its natural environment. In fact, the convex section of the panoramic outdoor swimming pool determines a circulation of waves at its edges and all the views are always facing outwards.
The presence of water in the centre of the house, resting on the floor and in connection with the sky reveals a kind of mystic paradigm of the observatory’s spatial concept. At night, in the centre of this sphere one can feel the temperature of the water and perceive, in a certain position, the force of gravity. When darkness is all around, one feels as if one is floating in space. The total absence of any kind of stylistic obsession whatsoever makes the action of this visual architectural device even stronger and more convincing.
Construction and Issues
Due to the fact that the site is perched on a bluff overlooking a remote beach, materials had to be bought in by boat. Another issue which presented itself what the lack of skilled labor in the region, being a remote and poor area, most of the workers were illiterate and not able to read plans.