A few years ago, two brothers on a rock climbing trip stumbled upon a beautiful and remote clearing near Aculco, Mexico—a serendipitous discovery that would later inspire the design of their minimalist holiday home.
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Charmed by the land’s untouched beauty and impressive nearby cliffs, the siblings purchased the 3.2-hectare property and tapped PPAA, a Mexico City–based architecture firm that shares the brothers’ reverence for nature, to design a low-maintenance getaway with minimal site impact.
"They were very clear about their intentions: It should be a small construction project with minimal damage to the natural surroundings; a place that enhances the beauty of nature with an outdoor terrace," the architects explain.
"So we sought to establish a reciprocal dialogue between the construction and its natural surrounding. We went for simplicity, minimal maintenance, and intimacy with the panorama and the land."
To mimic the surrounding hills, the 969-square-foot holiday home is topped with a simple sloped roof. An open-plan living space occupies the heart of the home and is flanked by a hearth on one side and a kitchenette on the other.
The home includes two bedrooms, one for each brother. The ground-floor bedroom faces a wall of glass, while the other is perched above the bathroom in the loft space.
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Yet the remote setting is a double-edged sword: the location lends itself to beautiful, uninterrupted views, but it also complicated the construction process.
"We had to deal with the fact that there was no specialized hand labor; that’s why we decided to work with local materials and the local ‘way of doing things’," the architects say, adding that the construction was very low budget. As a result, the design team sourced most of the materials locally and left them in their "raw" state—from the locally quarried "cantera" stone that makes up the exterior walls to the clay tile floors.
Completed in 2018, the Aculco holiday home currently serves as a private retreat. In time, however, the owners plan to open the home up to the public as a bookable rental on Cauma.
Related Reading: 10 Modern Vacation Homes in Mexico That Guarantee an Epic Escape
Builder/General Contractor: Eulalio
Structural Engineer/Civil Engineer: BVG
Landscape Design Company: TANYA EGUILUZ/ GENFOR LANDSCAPE
Lighting Design/Interior Design: PPAA