cámara catamaramétrica is a floating pavilion exploring the waters of a mexican lake, by S-AR

cámara catamaramétrica is a floating pavilion exploring the waters of a mexican lake, by S-AR

cámara catamaramétrica is a floating pavilion by architectural design studio S-AR, built with the purpose of creating a space – without becoming a boat or a ship – that allows one to set out and explore the waters of the presa de la boca lake in monterrey, mexico. the geometric ‘island’ becomes a piece of architecture, a room, an open cabin, a chamber that frames the landscape, and an instrument for observation with which the user can float towards a nearby island located 200 m away from the shore.

photos by ana cecilia garza villarreal



S-AR‘s pavilion is build on a grid of 10.16 x 10.16 cm (4”x4”) wooden columns placed every 80 cm, which allude to a construction project that was going in 2016 close to the western banks of presa de la boca, where summer homes are regularly built.  cámara catamaramétrica has a total surface area of 3.35 x 3.35 m and uses a flotation system of eight tanks filled with air that are placed on the water to support the wooden structure. its 25 columns occupy and inhabit the space while also providing a place to cling to, in case one loses balance once inside. the propulsion system of the floating pavilion uses a piece of fabric attached along the top part of the structure which picks up the wind, wherever it may come from. if one is lucky, the wind may blow the structure towards the island, otherwise it might just send it towards one of the many banks of the lake. the propulsion seems to depend on the whims of the wind, but, it also depends on the terrain — it depends on the southern mountains through which it blows.



for cámara catamaramétrica, the mexico-based studio drew inspiration from a specific type of boats, catamarans, which were used for fishing by the paravas, a community of fishermen located on the south coast of tamil nadu (india), as well as to transport troops by the chola dynasty, who had been using them since the fifth century AD to conquer regions of southeast asia. the word catamaran derives from the tamil noun kaṭṭumaram where kaṭṭu means packed and maram means tree (lit. ‘joined logs’), while the first to describe these type of boats was british pirate and adventurer william dampier  in 1967, when he saw them in the region of tamil nadu while sailing across the bay of bengal. in his description, dampier noted, ‘the men made their way to the shore and sighted an island in the distance. the stillness of the landscape provoked in them a sense of peace that drew them towards it. they began building an instrument that would allow them to reach it, defeat the distance. their hopeful eyes conferred strength to their work, patience and enthusiasm, combining mastery and intelligence. form their work arose a floating house, steered by the wind that filled the improvised sails that covered the windows. it carried them to the island. it was like a floating house made of wood.’



project info:


name: cámara catamaramétrica

architects: S-AR

location: monterrey, nuevo leon, mexico

architects in charge: cesar guerrero, ana cecilia garza

contributors: carlos valdez

typology: pavillion

client: private

construction area: 11.22 m2

technical supervision: S-AR

materials: wood, plastic, fabric and steel




designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: sofia lekka angelopoulou | designboom

  • A marvelously independent construction, completely unmoored from the expected bounds of material, of history, culture, purpose, and common sense.

    clarke olsen says:

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