A Remote Holiday Home Celebrates Raw and Natural Materials in Mexico
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A Remote Holiday Home Celebrates Raw and Natural Materials in Mexico

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By Lucy Wang
An homage to Mexico’s untouched landscape, this elegant low-impact getaway sports a pared-back aesthetic.

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.

The Aculco holiday home is "completely isolated in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nature," the architects say.

The Aculco holiday home is "completely isolated in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nature," the architects say.

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The holiday home took two years to complete—from design conception to construction.

The holiday home took two years to complete—from design conception to construction.

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.

Here, the two brothers are seen sitting on the large brick patio.

Here, the two brothers are seen sitting on the large brick patio.

The roof is angled to mimic the surrounding hills. It also solves "the practical issue of not having to clean the roofs," the architects add.

The roof is angled to mimic the surrounding hills. It also solves "the practical issue of not having to clean the roofs," the architects add.

"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. 

The exterior walls are built from large blocks of locally quarried stone.

The exterior walls are built from large blocks of locally quarried stone.

"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."

The house is located about 30 minutes from the town of Aculco (including a 10-minute drive down a dirt road), making it ideal for quick getaways.

The house is located about 30 minutes from the town of Aculco (including a 10-minute drive down a dirt road), making it ideal for quick getaways.

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. 

Natural light fills the house from four sides.

Natural light fills the house from four sides.

West Elm chairs are paired with a locally crafted wooden table.

West Elm chairs are paired with a locally crafted wooden table.

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.

Clay tile floors and timber surfaces tie the building to the land. The locally quarried stone walls are left exposed in the interior.

Clay tile floors and timber surfaces tie the building to the land. The locally quarried stone walls are left exposed in the interior.

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Gloster Raw Split Dining Table
Designed by Henrik Pedersen. Pedersen runs a Danish design studio focussed on lifestyle-based design, ranging from furniture and lighting to projects for clothing and food packaging companies.
Sliding glazed doors open the ground-floor bedroom up to the outdoors. The timber bench was locally crafted.

Sliding glazed doors open the ground-floor bedroom up to the outdoors. The timber bench was locally crafted.

The loft bedroom is located beneath the highest point of the roof and overlooks the sitting area below.

The loft bedroom is located beneath the highest point of the roof and overlooks the sitting area below.

Yet the remote setting is a double-edged sword: the location lends itself to beautiful, uninterrupted views, but it also complicated the construction process.

When the home isn't inhabited, the brothers secure the building with heavy treated pine screens.

When the home isn't inhabited, the brothers secure the building with heavy treated pine screens.

"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.

The kitchen cabinetry is built from Caribbean walnut.

The kitchen cabinetry is built from Caribbean walnut.

The wood-burning hearth fills the home with an orange glow at night.

The wood-burning hearth fills the home with an orange glow at night.

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.

Walls of glass allow for uninterrupted views through the building.

Walls of glass allow for uninterrupted views through the building.

The holiday house at night.

The holiday house at night.

Aculco House floor plan

Aculco House floor plan

Aculco House upper floor plan

Aculco House upper floor plan

Related Reading: 10 Modern Vacation Homes in Mexico That Guarantee an Epic Escape 

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: PPAA Perez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados / @perez_palacios_aa

Builder/General Contractor: Eulalio

Structural Engineer/Civil Engineer: BVG

Landscape Design Company: TANYA EGUILUZ/ GENFOR LANDSCAPE

Lighting Design/Interior Design: PPAA