written by:
November 22, 2010

On a gently sloping lot in the middle of a pine forest at the northern edge of Cuernavaca, Mexico, is a family compound with a recent addition conceptualized by local architect Alfredo Raymundo Cano Briceño of T3arc. Linked to the 1,300-square-foot main house by a glass-covered footbridge, the addition, which measures just under 500 square feet, includes three bedrooms and one bathroom for the children, Santiago, Mariano, and Natalia, who range in age from three to eight. Working within a tight budget for owners Fernando and Geny, Cano repurposed pine he had used as framework for previous projects, and covered the exterior with protective clear plastic panels he retrieved from an industrial landfill. Cano says the structure fits well with the surrounding eclectic architecture, which ranges from traditional brick and Spanish colonial–style houses to the postmodern style of the main house. “Mexico’s diversity of architecture makes a perfect disorder,” he says.

Cano implemented small windows on one side of the addition to protect from cold north winds, and extended an existing retaining wall with rocks found onsite, upon which he anchored the foundation. To protect the structure from the humidity, Cano completel
Cano implemented small windows on one side of the addition to protect from cold north winds, and extended an existing retaining wall with rocks found onsite, upon which he anchored the foundation. To protect the structure from the humidity, Cano completely clad it in recycled plastic panels. Load-bearing framing beams are visible through the horizontal window. Photo courtesy T3arc
1 / 10
Chivo and Gunter frolic on the sloping lot, which dips below the bridge connecting the house with the addition. “We did three different types of windows,” notes Cano. “Some allow ventilation and a great view of the trees, some let the kids feel closer to
Chivo and Gunter frolic on the sloping lot, which dips below the bridge connecting the house with the addition. “We did three different types of windows,” notes Cano. “Some allow ventilation and a great view of the trees, some let the kids feel closer to the main house where their parents are, and a couple more are for the dogs to jump outside.” Photo courtesy T3arc
2 / 10
The sheen created by the plastic panels plays off of the bridge’s glass enclosure. “We did not want to put any varnish on the wood, so we started thinking we’d cover it all with glass,” says Cano. “It was terribly expensive, so we went to an industrial la
The sheen created by the plastic panels plays off of the bridge’s glass enclosure. “We did not want to put any varnish on the wood, so we started thinking we’d cover it all with glass,” says Cano. “It was terribly expensive, so we went to an industrial landfill where we found these used plastic panels.” As visible at the edge of the addition’s roof, Cano maximized light by using clear fiberglass panels for much of the roof, left over from the construction of the nearby Cafe 5, which Cano built from all-recycled materials. Photo courtesy T3arc
3 / 10
Angled pine beams help support the bridge, and reference the diagonal lines of the 1,300-square-foot two-story main house, which was built in 2000. “The irregularity of the site allowed us to connect the addition to the second floor of the house, where th
Angled pine beams help support the bridge, and reference the diagonal lines of the 1,300-square-foot two-story main house, which was built in 2000. “The irregularity of the site allowed us to connect the addition to the second floor of the house, where the main room is,” says Cano. Photo courtesy T3arc
4 / 10
With the clear plastic cladding, “not only is the wood not in contact with the rainwater, it looks like a part of the forest with the trees’ reflection on it,” says Cano. All told, the property measures about 5,000 square feet. Photo courtesy <a href="htt
With the clear plastic cladding, “not only is the wood not in contact with the rainwater, it looks like a part of the forest with the trees’ reflection on it,” says Cano. All told, the property measures about 5,000 square feet. Photo courtesy T3arc
5 / 10
A view from the main house down the length of the bridge to the addition. Cano notes that there is no need to light the bridge, as the exterior lights on both structures keep it well illuminated, so little superheroes can find their way at night. Photo co
A view from the main house down the length of the bridge to the addition. Cano notes that there is no need to light the bridge, as the exterior lights on both structures keep it well illuminated, so little superheroes can find their way at night. Photo courtesy T3arc
6 / 10
The boxy lines of the addition are a complement to the traditional arched doorway to the first-floor main entrance of the house. Photo courtesy <a href="http://www.t3arc.com/">T3arc</a>
The boxy lines of the addition are a complement to the traditional arched doorway to the first-floor main entrance of the house. Photo courtesy T3arc
7 / 10
Cano and the family wanted the bridge to be as much a part of the natural surroundings as possible. Photo courtesy <a href="http://www.t3arc.com/">T3arc</a>
Cano and the family wanted the bridge to be as much a part of the natural surroundings as possible. Photo courtesy T3arc
8 / 10
When asked about the green scale of this project, Cano says, “I think the most green element would be the family itself, as they are always concerned with taking good care of the surroundings.” Photo courtesy <a href="http://www.t3arc.com/">T3arc</a>
When asked about the green scale of this project, Cano says, “I think the most green element would be the family itself, as they are always concerned with taking good care of the surroundings.” Photo courtesy T3arc
9 / 10
Sited perpendicularly to the main house, the addition opens into the garden on the left side, and overlooks the forest on the right. “The layout is very simple,” says Cano. “From the bridge you enter to a small lobby that connects you to the three bedroom
Sited perpendicularly to the main house, the addition opens into the garden on the left side, and overlooks the forest on the right. “The layout is very simple,” says Cano. “From the bridge you enter to a small lobby that connects you to the three bedroom doors, with the bathroom between the bedrooms.” Photo courtesy T3arc
10 / 10
Cano implemented small windows on one side of the addition to protect from cold north winds, and extended an existing retaining wall with rocks found onsite, upon which he anchored the foundation. To protect the structure from the humidity, Cano completel
Cano implemented small windows on one side of the addition to protect from cold north winds, and extended an existing retaining wall with rocks found onsite, upon which he anchored the foundation. To protect the structure from the humidity, Cano completely clad it in recycled plastic panels. Load-bearing framing beams are visible through the horizontal window. Photo courtesy T3arc

Check out the slideshow for images of the project.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016