Project: Casa Meztitla
Architect (partner) in charge: Luis Arturo García
Design team: Juan Hernández, Jahir Villanueva, Antonio Rivas, Ana Fernanda Rodríguez, Diego Ruiz Velazco
Construction team: Hans Álvarez, Yolibel Allende
Location: Tepoztlán, México
Photography: Yoshihiro Koitani, KUU Studio
Designed as a couple’s retreat for leisure and entertainment, Casa Meztitla blurs boundaries between indoors and outdoors with wide rotating glass doors opening up to welcome the surrounding nature inside. EDAA head architect Luis Arturo Garcia explains that the house is divided into four distinct zones: the social spaces, consisting of living, kitchen and dining areas leading out to the portico and garden; the service zone off the central courtyard, accommodating a toilet, shower room, laundry, storage and grill for alfresco dining; a row of four bedrooms, each with their own ensuite and patio; and a work/live studio space above, with access across roof terraces formed by the floor below.
While allowing guests to connect with the outdoors and appreciate the region’s warm subtropical weather, the goal was to blend into the natural landscape and prioritize sustainable living. With the building covering just 400 square meters of a 3,800-sq.-m. site, the clients were left with large swaths of rugged garden and used part of it to install an environmentally friendly storm water harvesting system.
Responding to the pressures of Mexico’s seasonal conditions, stormwater is collected in the wet season. It is stored and purified for drinking and used throughout the rest of the year. Greywater is also recycled for flushing toilets, gardening, cleaning, and for the benefit of local wildlife struggling in the drought season. Storage is split between two containers: the potable reservoir beneath the central courtyard and a maintenance reservoir further from the house. Their combined capacity reaches 280 square meters of water.
Natural stone clads the concrete structure, camouflaging the house into the backdrop beyond so that only the monolithic white box of the upstairs studio – and a blossom of vibrant bougainvilleas marking the site boundary – announce the presence of this modern, tranquil home amidst the area’s wooded landscaped terraces, formed over five hundred years ago by native Tepoztecos.
The house also features a narrow, elevated swimming pool. Water is collected on site in three large containers (the pool, a maintenance reservoir and a potable water tank) to ensure there is no waste and to allow year-round irrigation.
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