Glass Walls and Wooden Screens Strike a Balance in This Mexican Home
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Glass Walls and Wooden Screens Strike a Balance in This Mexican Home

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By Lucy Wang
Two contrasting facades on this concrete abode in Querétaro City embrace the outdoors without compromising privacy.

After years of admiring the work of architect Pablo Pérez Palacios from afar, a young couple finally found an opportunity to enlist his services when they purchased property in an upscale housing development in central Mexico’s Querétaro City. 

As parents to a newborn, the young couple wanted a single-family home that would be low-maintenance, child-friendly, and—most importantly—connected to the outdoors.

Casa Campanario’s simple and clean geometry is matched with a pared-back material palette of concrete, wood, and stone.

Casa Campanario’s simple and clean geometry is matched with a pared-back material palette of concrete, wood, and stone.

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But creating a seamless indoor/outdoor living experience would be a challenge given the housing development’s stringent regulations on where the house could be placed. There were also privacy concerns due to the proximity of neighboring houses.

Located in a Querétaro housing development, Casa Campanario is surrounded by new construction.

Located in a Querétaro housing development, Casa Campanario is surrounded by new construction.

A densely planted garden shields the living room and dining area from view of the street.

A densely planted garden shields the living room and dining area from view of the street.

Working with his team at his Mexico City–based practice PPAA and architect Alfonso de la Concha Rojas, Pablo navigated the site’s drawbacks and met his client’s needs by designing a simple concrete structure that combines two kinds of exterior treatments—an opaque upper floor with wooden screens for privacy, and a transparent ground floor that features massive glass walls that slide open to connect the living spaces to the lush gardens in the front and rear of the house.

Slatted Tzalama wood screens provide privacy and light control as well as a pop of contrast against the concrete structure.

Slatted Tzalama wood screens provide privacy and light control as well as a pop of contrast against the concrete structure.

Massive glass doors slide open to allow cooling cross breezes to blow straight through the home.

Massive glass doors slide open to allow cooling cross breezes to blow straight through the home.

"We only designed with the elements that were strictly needed—nothing more, nothing less," says Pablo of the project, named Casa Campanario. "The simple form became a frame for the surrounding nature."

Tall stone walls, fencing, and an abundance of greenery shield views of the surrounding development to create a private oasis of calm in the backyard.

Tall stone walls, fencing, and an abundance of greenery shield views of the surrounding development to create a private oasis of calm in the backyard.

Intersecting concrete elements divide the home’s facade into a grid that not only breaks down the scale of the 3,660-square-foot house, but also frames views of the outdoor spaces.

Since the clients wanted to host large social gatherings, the architects designed an open-plan living room and dining area that expands seamlessly to the outdoors.

Since the clients wanted to host large social gatherings, the architects designed an open-plan living room and dining area that expands seamlessly to the outdoors.

Black aluminum door frames stand out against the concrete structure and sandblasted marble floors.

Black aluminum door frames stand out against the concrete structure and sandblasted marble floors.

The interiors match the minimalist aesthetic of the exterior so as to keep attention on the outdoors.

The modern kitchen also overlooks views of the outdoors. The countertops are polished marble to match the sandblasted marble floors.

The modern kitchen also overlooks views of the outdoors. The countertops are polished marble to match the sandblasted marble floors.

The stairs are located in the center of the home to separate the ground-floor living and dining spaces from the kitchen and service rooms on the opposite side.

The stairs are located in the center of the home to separate the ground-floor living and dining spaces from the kitchen and service rooms on the opposite side.

Per the client's request, the home includes a second living room on the upper floor that's more intimately scaled for family use.

Per the client's request, the home includes a second living room on the upper floor that's more intimately scaled for family use.

A peek inside the master bathroom that takes up approximately one-sixth of the upper floor. The house includes three bedrooms on the upper floor and a service bedroom on the ground floor.

A peek inside the master bathroom that takes up approximately one-sixth of the upper floor. The house includes three bedrooms on the upper floor and a service bedroom on the ground floor.

The home taps into solar energy sources and cross ventilation to reduce energy demands.

The home taps into solar energy sources and cross ventilation to reduce energy demands.

Casa Campanario ground-floor floor plan

Casa Campanario ground-floor floor plan

Casa Campanario second-floor floor plan

Casa Campanario second-floor floor plan

More by PPAA: A Remote Holiday Home Celebrates Raw and Natural Materials in Mexico

Project Credits:

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

Builder/ General Contractor: Octavio Perez Quintana 

Structural Engineer/Civil Engineer: BVG