When clients approached Mexico City–based architecture firm Estudio MMX, they had a deceptively simple request: a 1,000-square-meter garden on a 1,000-square-meter plot in a neighborhood called Lomas de Chapultepec, west of Mexico City. The problem, of course, was that in addition to a 1,000-square-meter garden, they also wanted a house. Estudio MMX’s solution was to use large terraces to create a garden in three dimensions that connects with the house at every possible opportunity.
"Our strategy," says Diego Ricalde, one of four partners at Estudio MMX, "was to imagine the garden as an interconnected system of open spaces that runs throughout the house." The resulting form is an L shape in the corner of the property. Above the public areas of the home are two platforms that support large, planted terraces. The layout connects the upper levels of the house to the garden, and softens the building’s cubic concrete aesthetic.
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The multilevel garden also allows the owners to have both a garden for entertaining, and a garden full of plants. By moving the heavier shrubs, bushes, and flowering plants to the terraces on the second floor and against the property’s boundary, Estudio MMX was able to make room for a spacious outdoor living area, complete with stylish modern outdoor furnishings in the center of the property.
A unique yellow-tinted concrete makes the house’s geometric form pop, even though it’s heavily laden with greenery. Estudio MMX values poured concrete for the honesty of its form, and the studio frequently uses the material in their designs. "Concrete allows architecture to express, without other added surfaces, its core structure and geometry," Ricalde tells Dwell.
Because of its spartan, cement construction and large and plentiful window and door openings, the house feels particularly airy on the inside. Windows frame distant views of the city, as well as the house’s immediate lush surroundings, but moments of closeness and intimacy also abound inside. According to Ricalde, the project is designed so that the clients can enjoy change in scale, height, and light as they walk through the home and the site.
Ever present, no matter where you are in the home, is the garden—it’s a house insistent upon outdoor living. Glass curtain walls on the first floor anchor the interior living room to its outdoor twin, while upstairs in the bedrooms, large windows provide framed views of the elevated garden.
Estudio MMX was founded in 2010 by Ricalde, along with partners Jorge Arvizu, Ignacio del Río, and Emmanuel Ramírez.
More from Estudio MMX:
Architect of Record: Estudio MMX
Builder/General Contractor: Ángel Olavarrieta
Structural/Civil Engineer: Alejandro Flores
Landscape Design: Entorno Taller de Paisaje
Lighting Design: Luz en Arquitectura
Interior Design: Adriana Olmedo/Taller de Arquitectura de Interiores
Cabinetry Design: Estudio MMX
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