This Tropical Mexican Home Wraps Around a Lush Garden

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By Lucy Wang
Designed to feel like a never-ending vacation, Casa TM in Colima boasts a circular enclosure that gives one family a luxurious connection to the outdoors.

Local craftsmanship and tropical flora take center stage at Casa TM, a beautifully detailed stucco home that pulls the outdoors in while protecting the homeowners’ privacy.

The brick walls of Casa TM were covered in white stucco, a minimalist choice that sets the stage for the pared-back interiors.

The brick walls of Casa TM were covered in white stucco, a minimalist choice that sets the stage for the pared-back interiors.

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"The premise of the project was to integrate the diverse phenomenologies inspired by the tropical paradise of the Mexican Pacific in order to create a residence that constantly refers to unending vacation," explains architect Javier Dueñas of the architectural practice CDM (Casas de México).

In a nod to the local vernacular, the palapa-style roof is covered in dried palm leaves. The thatched roof cover also helps deflect solar heat gain and aid in thermal insulation.

In a nod to the local vernacular, the palapa-style roof is covered in dried palm leaves. The thatched roof cover also helps deflect solar heat gain and aid in thermal insulation.

A limestone partition wall screens the indoor courtyard from the garage.

A limestone partition wall screens the indoor courtyard from the garage.

Located in Colima, a small state on Mexico’s west coast, Casa TM was custom crafted for a family of four who wanted a relaxing environment to call home. Yet, it was ultimately the careful navigation of the site’s many constraints that guided the building’s design.

A close up of the limestone partition reveals how the angled surfaces are spaced slightly apart to allow wind through.

A close up of the limestone partition reveals how the angled surfaces are spaced slightly apart to allow wind through.

"The context forced architecture to become introverted and massive as to protect the user from situations of recurring insecurity," Javier commented of the high levels of crime and cartel violence in Colima. The oppressive humidity and heat—temperatures can rise to well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity rarely dropping below 75 percent—as well as the land’s susceptibility to flooding in the rainy season also dictated how the architects approached the project.

Populated by palms, the circular garden occupies the heart of the home.

Populated by palms, the circular garden occupies the heart of the home.

As a result, the five-bedroom home was elevated on a three-foot platform to protect against flooding and fragmented into a series of blocks to take advantage of cooling cross breezes. The large and circular tropical garden that anchors the heart of the home also helps redirect airflow from the pools and terrace in the west to the bedrooms on the opposite side of the house.

An expansive, infinity-edge pool stretches to the west side of the site. The winds that are cooled when passing over the pool blow through the home and into the sleeping areas.

An expansive, infinity-edge pool stretches to the west side of the site. The winds that are cooled when passing over the pool blow through the home and into the sleeping areas.

"A three-foot platform raises the main floor level from the ground, protecting the house against recurring floods," explains the firm. "This difference of level between the interior and exterior was used to create sloped gardens that work as thermal buffer zones."

"A three-foot platform raises the main floor level from the ground, protecting the house against recurring floods," explains the firm. "This difference of level between the interior and exterior was used to create sloped gardens that work as thermal buffer zones."

"The limits of enclosed space are blurred to favor the creation of open environments that allow natural air fluxes throughout the entire home in order to create the ambivalence between interiors and exteriors," notes the firm.

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An east-facing view of the open-plan living and dining area.

An east-facing view of the open-plan living and dining area.

The home's restrained material palette of timber and white stucco walls defers to the landscape. The floors are Coralina Stone.

The home's restrained material palette of timber and white stucco walls defers to the landscape. The floors are Coralina Stone.

The interiors were dressed by MUMO, and the light design is by Artenluz.

The interiors were dressed by MUMO, and the light design is by Artenluz.

The master bedroom faces walls of glazing that frame tropical views. The bedroom connects to the master bath with a double vanity as well as a spacious walk-in closet in a separate room. The floors are Galala marble.

The master bedroom faces walls of glazing that frame tropical views. The bedroom connects to the master bath with a double vanity as well as a spacious walk-in closet in a separate room. The floors are Galala marble.

Massive, timber-framed sliding doors connect the master bedroom with the outdoors.

Massive, timber-framed sliding doors connect the master bedroom with the outdoors.

The pool abuts a lush, tropical environment. The lot is nearly three acres in size.

The pool abuts a lush, tropical environment. The lot is nearly three acres in size.

Casa TM site plan

Casa TM site plan

Casa TM floor plan

Casa TM floor plan

Casa TM section

Casa TM section

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: CDM Casas de México

Builder/ General Contractor: CDM Casas de México

Structural Engineer: Fransisco Manriquez Morán

Civil Engineer: Ernesto Olmo Godinez

Landscape Design Company: Juan Carlos Pérez Trejo

Lighting Design: Artenluz

Interior Design: MUMO