This House Outside of Mexico City Was Designed Around its Garden

This House Outside of Mexico City Was Designed Around its Garden

By Ethan Tucker
Estudio MMX designed the concrete and brick volumes of the CMR House to create an elegant contrast with a verdant subtropical garden.

Mexico City–based Estudio MMX designed this concrete and dark brick house around an existing garden that they found too beautiful to demolish. In order to keep the garden intact, the architects decided to break up the program of the living room, kitchen, dining area, and bedrooms, and split them up into individual units set along the garden’s edge.

The living room features large picture windows with garden views, airy ceilings, and striking black brick walls.

"The volumes are connected through transitional spaces that frame views of the garden, encouraging residents to make pauses while moving through the house." Says Diego Ricalde, one of Estudio MMX’s four partners. The house’s unique layout is intended to promote a connection between the inhabitants and the natural surroundings.

The lush garden is a presence throughout the house.

When a person moves through the house, the lush subtropical garden is their constant companion, framed in the massive windows that are the centerpiece of most rooms, and at the edges of concrete walkways and terraces. When walking from one room to another, a person moves through the garden instead of simply through a doorway. 

CMR House’s rectilinear volumes stand out against the surrounding greenery.

On the second floor, where the home’s more private spaces are located, the relationship with the garden becomes at once more intimate and more removed. "We wanted to compliment the interior spaces with outstanding views, allowing the owners to enjoy different ambiances from inside the house but also allowing them to extend their activities to the outdoors," Ricalde tells Dwell.

Exposed wooden rafters and hardwood floors add a softer touch to a space defined by hard materials and straight lines.

Shop the Look
Nature Framed: At Home in the Landscape
Twenty-five recent residential projects from around the United States take the concept of “green living” to the next architectural level.
Lindsey Adelman Branching Chandelier
Produced by Lindsey Adelman in her New York studio, the Branching Bubble Series is inspired by the complex yet interconnected forms found in nature.
Muuto Elevated Vase
Thomas Bentzen on the design: "The Elevated vase is about doing something exceptional for flowers. The wooden bowl holding the glass vase elevates the flowers, almost ritually, and frames them in a new Nordic poetic way. The materials are inspired by the flowers and branches I would put in the vase.

The house’s rectilinear volumes, neutral colors, and hard materials create an elegant contrast with the verdure of the site’s plantings. The effect is striking, and the contrast serves both to highlight the architecture and create a structured geometric background for the garden’s stunning ferns and palms.

CMR House is designed to maximize interactions between the indoor and outdoor space.

The black brick that the architects selected for the exterior and some interior walls calls to mind volcanic rock and provides a welcome relief from what could have been too much concrete. The architects also like it for its unique reflective properties. "What we like the most is its capacity to reflect and diffract light, which allows for changes in the spatial planes of the house throughout the day." Says Ricalde.

Like all of the rooms in CMR House, the living room features sweeping garden views.

Inside, exposed wooden rafters add some warmer tones to a home whose color palette, apart from the garden, is dominated by grays and blacks. The exposed rafters also break up some of the structure’s orthogonal lines and compliment the lightness created by the large windows and high ceilings in the home’s interior spaces, like the living and dining rooms.

The home’s program is split up among several volumes, which are distributed along the garden.

 The home’s owners found Estudio MMX through a friend whose house the studio also designed. Formed in 2010 (MMX in Roman numerals), the firm is a partnership between four architects: Ricalde, Jorge Arvizu, Ignacio del Río, and Emmanuel Ramírez. They work collaboratively on each of their projects, which run the gamut from single family homes like CMR House, to larger urban installations.

Related Reading:

25 Modern Homes That Kill it With Concrete

This Catalan Home’s Stone Facade Hides a Secret Oasis

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Estudio MMX

Save

Get the Dwell Newsletter

Be the first to see our latest home tours, design news, and more.