Upcycled Trees Cloak This Modern Mexican Home

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By Michele Koh Morollo
In the El Peñon Reserve, architects use concrete and upcycled trees to design Casa de la Roca, a striking Y-shaped home enveloped in nature.

Award-winning architecture and design studio Cadaval & Solà-Morales has designed a 3,229-square-feet home to be hidden from view in its wooded site in the El Peñon Reserve.

Built predominantly with concrete and upcycled trees, the modern residence consists of three volumes configured in a "Y" shape. With the three arms extruding in different directions, each one features a large picture window at the end to frame views of the woodlands outdoors.

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Concrete was chosen as the primary material because of its high structural performance, low-maintenance, and how well it bridges the slope of the mountainous site.

Concrete was chosen as the primary material because of its high structural performance, low-maintenance, and how well it bridges the slope of the mountainous site.

Upcycled wood—sourced from fallen trees near the site—was used as part of the shrub-covered green roof. 

Upcycled wood—sourced from fallen trees near the site—was used as part of the shrub-covered green roof. 

Between the structural beams is a piece of ceramic, which consolidates the plane of the roof. 

Between the structural beams is a piece of ceramic, which consolidates the plane of the roof. 

The walls of the volumes are slightly extended to create sheltered outdoor decks.

The walls of the volumes are slightly extended to create sheltered outdoor decks.

While the house was painted black to help it blend in with the landscape, the shrub-covered roof is the more prominent part of the overall design due to the verdant green surroundings.

While the house was painted black to help it blend in with the landscape, the shrub-covered roof is the more prominent part of the overall design due to the verdant green surroundings.

The ceiling beams have been left exposed to create a stark contrast with the black framing.

The ceiling beams have been left exposed to create a stark contrast with the black framing.

The green roof makes the house look as if it’s camouflaged within its forest surroundings.  

The green roof makes the house look as if it’s camouflaged within its forest surroundings.  

Glazed walls allow the interior living areas to be seamlessly connected to the outdoors.

Glazed walls allow the interior living areas to be seamlessly connected to the outdoors.

The concrete creates thermal mass in the home, and the large widows provide cross ventilation when opened. Together, these elements help keep the interior spaces cool and comfortable throughout the year.  

The concrete creates thermal mass in the home, and the large widows provide cross ventilation when opened. Together, these elements help keep the interior spaces cool and comfortable throughout the year.  

The ample amount of large windows draw much sunlight into the home.

The ample amount of large windows draw much sunlight into the home.

A hammock hangs on the bedroom balcony, creating an idyllic spot for relaxation.

A hammock hangs on the bedroom balcony, creating an idyllic spot for relaxation.

The kitchen features a sleek, modern design.

The kitchen features a sleek, modern design.

By creating lookouts in three different directions, residents are able to celebrate the home's unique natural setting no matter which room they are in.

By creating lookouts in three different directions, residents are able to celebrate the home's unique natural setting no matter which room they are in.

A look at one of the bedrooms.

A look at one of the bedrooms.

The architects have used a large amount of wood soured from dead or fallen trees around the area for both the interior and exterior of the house, including the roof.

The architects have used a large amount of wood soured from dead or fallen trees around the area for both the interior and exterior of the house, including the roof.

"The wood establishes a very emphatic and directional rhythm that orders the project," says Eduardo Cadaval, one of the firm’s founders.  

"The wood establishes a very emphatic and directional rhythm that orders the project," says Eduardo Cadaval, one of the firm’s founders.  

The site plan.

The site plan.

The floor plan.

The floor plan.

Project Credits: 

Architecture: Cadaval & Solà-Morales 

Local architect: Alejandro Filloy 

Structural engineering: Ricardo Camacho de la Fuente 

Mechanical engineering: José Antonio Lino 

Landscape architecture: Simon Bequillard 

Hidrology: Daniel Jaramillo 

Collaborators: Eduardo Alegre, Orsi Maza, Alexandra Coppetier