written by:
June 3, 2014
An inviting house in the Mexican capital draws the outside in.
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  The front door of this house in the Santa Fe neighborhood of Mexico City slides open to allow views all the way to the backyard. Photo courtesy of JSa.
    The front door of this house in the Santa Fe neighborhood of Mexico City slides open to allow views all the way to the backyard. Photo courtesy of JSa.
  • 
  Photo courtesy of JSa.
    Photo courtesy of JSa.
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  Photo courtesy of JSa.
    Photo courtesy of JSa.
  • 
  Photo courtesy of JSa.
    Photo courtesy of JSa.
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  The facade at dusk. Photo courtesy of JSa.
    The facade at dusk. Photo courtesy of JSa.
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  The rear patio features a living wall. Photo courtesy of JSa.
    The rear patio features a living wall. Photo courtesy of JSa.
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  The kitchen and sitting room open onto the rear patio. Photo courtesy of JSa.
    The kitchen and sitting room open onto the rear patio. Photo courtesy of JSa.
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  The rear of the house as seen at dusk. Photo courtesy of JSa.
    The rear of the house as seen at dusk. Photo courtesy of JSa.
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House in Santa Fe, Mexico City
The front door of this house in the Santa Fe neighborhood of Mexico City slides open to allow views all the way to the backyard. Photo courtesy of JSa.

This house in a residential section of Santa Fe—a bustling business district in western Mexico City—is the product of a failed renovation effort.

A couple—he an entrepreneur working in logistics, she a stay-at-home mother—bought an 8,500-square-foot house here and approached JSa, a Mexico City-based architectural firm, with the idea of remodeling it. The house was poorly sited on its lot in a manner that drew very little natural light. The architects sized it up and quickly realized that the best solution would be to tear it down and start from scratch.

Rebuilding on a smaller scale would achieve three goals, the architects reasoned: it would allow for more generous amounts of natural light while, permit more expansive and inviting outdoor spaces, and help the couple stay within their budget.

The architects worked within a series of setback restrictions that tended to produce compact houses elsewhere in the neighborhood. Instead, they came up with a 6,200-square-foot L-shaped structure that opens to the south, drawing amplenatural sunlight and heat.

The front entrance is a visual nod to the zaguán, the traditional entry passage found in many colonial-era houses in Mexico. The wooden door slides to the side, opening the house to the front yard and street while allowing for views all the way to the backyard. Inside, the kitchen is outfitted with a set of sliding glass doors that onto a patio. Similarly, the living room opens to the outside at a corner. The overall effect is a nearly seamless transition from the inside out, and vice versa.

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