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.
Will Lamb is a writer and editor based in Jersey City, New Jersey. He served as a senior editor at Dwell from 2013 to 2015.