A Modern Mexican Home Rises With Vertical Timber Cladding

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By Lucy Wang
In Tijuana, Mexico, an architect designs an elegant new residence for his family of four.

When Mexican architect Jorge Gracia began designing a home for his own family, he found it helpful to reframe the project as a commission from an outside client. "The best decision I made was to not think that it was my house," he says. "I’m very happy I did that."

With the pressures of perfectionism set aside, Gracia pulled inspiration from midcentury-modern design to create Casa Ga2, a contemporary home for his family of four. 

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Sliding pocket doors by NuVista create a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience.

Sliding pocket doors by NuVista create a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience.

To make up for the lack of views, the architect has cleverly wrapped the 5,200-square-foot residence around an inner courtyard to create an indoor-outdoor living experience without sacrificing privacy.

The courtyard is open to the sky and mainly finished in concrete.

The courtyard is open to the sky and mainly finished in concrete.

"Being raised in the region of Tijuana-San Diego, I’ve always been influenced by midcentury modernism," says Gracia, who fitted the two-story home with iconic pieces, such as a Noguchi table and Eames chairs. 

Protected from prying eyes by a planted slope, the back of the property soaks up the sun with a hammock hung from the ceiling.

Protected from prying eyes by a planted slope, the back of the property soaks up the sun with a hammock hung from the ceiling.

"I feel that the nice weather we have in all of these regions makes us design buildings that respond to the indoor-outdoor living experience."

Tom Dixon's mesmerizing Melt Pendant Lamp hangs from a raised ceiling over the dining table. The dining room credenza is Jorge's original design.

Tom Dixon's mesmerizing Melt Pendant Lamp hangs from a raised ceiling over the dining table. The dining room credenza is Jorge's original design.

NuVista sliding pocket doors and full-height glazing blur the line between the interiors and landscaped courtyard. Large openings and sky views lend the home its breezy character.

A continuous connection with the outdoors is maintained through full-height glazing.

A continuous connection with the outdoors is maintained through full-height glazing.

"The use of concrete walls and wood ceilings on the first floor gives the house a strong and powerful statement and keeps the balance with hard and soft materials all in one space," explains Gracia. 

Concrete walls dominate the ground floor, while the first floor is clad in Ipe. "The upper-level white walls and Ipe wood ceiling gives the same contrast, but in a more peaceful way for the sleeping quarters," Gracia notes. 

Concrete walls dominate the ground floor, while the first floor is clad in Ipe. "The upper-level white walls and Ipe wood ceiling gives the same contrast, but in a more peaceful way for the sleeping quarters," Gracia notes. 

Casa Ga2 stands out from its neighbors with its facade clad in vertical timber.

Casa Ga2 stands out from its neighbors with its facade clad in vertical timber.

The open voids in the home give the property its beautiful, breezy character.

The open voids in the home give the property its beautiful, breezy character.

To make up for the lack of views, Gracia has installed a central courtyard that houses a variety of plants, including climbing vines and a tree.

To make up for the lack of views, Gracia has installed a central courtyard that houses a variety of plants, including climbing vines and a tree.

The floors are white travertine porcelain.

The floors are white travertine porcelain.

Eames molded plywood chairs are arranged around a round midcentury-modern dining table.

Eames molded plywood chairs are arranged around a round midcentury-modern dining table.

A minimalist staircase links the living room to the upper level.

A minimalist staircase links the living room to the upper level.

Instead of a simple railing, Gracia has installed a sculptural metal screen that lets views and light seamlessly pass through.

Instead of a simple railing, Gracia has installed a sculptural metal screen that lets views and light seamlessly pass through.

The upper-level family room is furnished with a simple black sectional and a Noguchi table.

The upper-level family room is furnished with a simple black sectional and a Noguchi table.

A look at the master bedroom, which unlike the other rooms in the home, features Ipe wood for both the ceiling and walls.

A look at the master bedroom, which unlike the other rooms in the home, features Ipe wood for both the ceiling and walls.

Here is a look at the room Gracia designed for his daughter, Valentina, which has ample storage for her toys.

Here is a look at the room Gracia designed for his daughter, Valentina, which has ample storage for her toys.

Casa Ga2 seen at night with a closed entrance gate. 

Casa Ga2 seen at night with a closed entrance gate. 

Project Credits:

Architect of Record / General Contractor: Jorge Gracia / Gracia Studio

Structural Engineer: Luis Garcia

Landscape / Lighting / Interior / Cabinetry: Jorge Gracia / Gracia Studio