A Minimalist Mexican Retreat Uses an Array of Strategies to Beat the Heat

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By Caroline Wallis
Comprised of four modules arranged around a central courtyard, this home is a fresh take on the casa de fin de semana.

Common amongst many Mexican families, the weekend home—or casa de fin de semana—is traditionally designed as a kind of weekly refresh meant to spatially distance residents from the workplace. Mexico City-based firm AS/D Asociación de Diseño conceived this particular weekend home as four separate volumes that the homeowners would place themselves, making the design process not only simple but actively participatory for all stakeholders. Within an extremely hot, dry climate, this home successfully accommodates a couple—now in their seventies—and their children. The architects explain, "These main spaces of the house create an interior-exterior relationship where the interior is well connected to nature and its surroundings, creating its own spatial context."

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Both the white facades and modules' orientations are crucial in maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures. Designed with the sun path in mind, each part of the home shades the courtyard year-round for residents.

Both the white facades and modules' orientations are crucial in maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures. Designed with the sun path in mind, each part of the home shades the courtyard year-round for residents.

The project title "Casa 4.1.4" refers to the four main volumes, one central plaza, and four patios. This simple configuration creates distinct, private spaces tied together with open-air common areas.

The project title "Casa 4.1.4" refers to the four main volumes, one central plaza, and four patios. This simple configuration creates distinct, private spaces tied together with open-air common areas.

While it was AS/D’s idea to create four separate masses instead of a central house, it was the residents who decided on the arrangement of those masses.

While it was AS/D’s idea to create four separate masses instead of a central house, it was the residents who decided on the arrangement of those masses.

One of the biggest challenges of the project was keeping the open courtyard cool enough for the residents to enjoy it. The architects used a low impact water feature to create ambient cooling and two native flamboyant trees to provide shade.

One of the biggest challenges of the project was keeping the open courtyard cool enough for the residents to enjoy it. The architects used a low impact water feature to create ambient cooling and two native flamboyant trees to provide shade.

The interior marble flooring and exterior granite surfacing blend well to complement the spare white modules. Both materials were chosen with climate in mind: granite because it both absorbs less heat and is easy to clean, marble because it cools down the interior.

The interior marble flooring and exterior granite surfacing blend well to complement the spare white modules. Both materials were chosen with climate in mind: granite because it both absorbs less heat and is easy to clean, marble because it cools down the interior.

Most of the fixed carpentry for this project was designed by AS/D and built by a contracted carpenter. Tzalam, the wood of choice, resists humidity and heat.

Most of the fixed carpentry for this project was designed by AS/D and built by a contracted carpenter. Tzalam, the wood of choice, resists humidity and heat.

This enclosed patio within one of the modules invites residents to enjoy the outdoors while still protected from the intense heat. The dining room table and chairs designed by Hector Esrawe.

This enclosed patio within one of the modules invites residents to enjoy the outdoors while still protected from the intense heat. The dining room table and chairs designed by Hector Esrawe.