15 Enchanting Homes in Mexico City That Retreat From the Bustle

15 Enchanting Homes in Mexico City That Retreat From the Bustle

By Lauren Conklin
From urban sanctuaries in the city center to weekend getaways in nearby Valle de Bravo, these homes are as diverse and innovative as CDMX itself.

The eclectic, fast-paced, global crossroads that is Mexico City provides the backdrop for these modern homes. Providing respite in an urban landscape, they feel knitted to the impressive history, culture, and nature of the capital city while providing privacy and serenity. 

This House Outside of Mexico City Was Designed Around its Garden

Mexico City–based Estudio MMX designed CMR 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.

When dusk descends on Mexico City, an all-white house takes on a surreal new atmosphere as an alchemy of LEDs bathes the interior in vibrant colors. The dreamlike abode is the work of Miguel Angel Aragonés, a self-taught architect of the Mexican design studio Taller Aragonés, and one of four structures on his property—three houses and a studio—collectively called Los Rombos after their rhomboid shape.

To most eyes, Ezequiel Farca’s 1970s-style concrete home in Mexico City looked like a teardown. Even the lot itself—shallow and crammed against a steep hillside—wasn’t particularly alluring. But Farca saw through all the restraints to create a spa-like refuge in one of the world’s most energetic cities. "It’s is such a hectic place. You’re bombarded by so much information the moment you step into the streets," says Farca, who first gained prominence as a furniture and interior designer. "So we envisioned this house as a retreat, a kind of a temple." The rooftop courtyard is lined with a verdant mix of indigenous plants, including banana trees, palm trees, lion’s claw, Mexican breadfruit, and native vines. The chaise longues were designed for Farca’s EF Collection.

Set in the prominent Mexico City neighborhood of San Angel Inn, Casa Campestre 107 by DCPP Arquitectos is a sleek, modern home designed using traditional materials and processes. The massing on the site contrasts between solid and void space, while the materiality of the home juxtaposes the exterior and interior. The exterior is dark with stone-like flooring and hardwood, differentiated from the interior, which is light and bright with minimal textural play. Regardless of all contrasts, the visual continuity between exterior and interior never fails. Landscape and architecture blend harmoniously for indoor/outdoor living.

Studio Rick Joy’s latest project, a five-story apartment building with two separate units, is set on a quiet street in the thriving, upscale neighborhood of Polanco, in the heart of Mexico City. It’s a departure from the firm’s usual work—the Tucson-based studio tends towards poetically minimalist homes surrounded by sweeping natural landscapes. In Tennyson 205, the firm successfully instills a sense of place and greenery within an infill project set in a bustling city.

The Mexico City house that Miguel Ángel Aragonés designed for his family contains many of his signature touches, including striking geometries, stark white walls, and rich materials. A work by Jan Hendrix hangs near the home’s grand stair.

Although technically located within the urbanized zone of Mexico City, the borough of Tlalpuente feels like a world apart, with its provincial atmosphere, natural conservation sites, and colonial-era mansions. Mexico City–based Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados (PPAA) recently completed a 3,700-square-foot home in the area that is punctuated with expansive voids that welcome in sunlight, breezes, and forest views. The home emerges from the greenery of Tlalpuente, with its boxy form and dark exterior cladding. Covered porches at the lower level open the home up to the outdoors.

When Mexico City residents Nina Wanderstok and Raúl Cremoux were ready for a smaller house, they turned to their son, architect Paul Cremoux. The two-story structure he designed preserves open space on the property to support groundwater recharge in accordance with strict local zoning regulations. In choosing materials, Paul evaluated their efficiency—and was surprised to find that local wasn’t always best. In one nod to Mexican design, the structure is finished with fine plaster and white paint.

A couple—he an entrepreneur working in logistics, she a stay-at-home mother—bought an 8,500-square-foot house here and approached JSa, a Mexico City-based architectural firm, with the idea of remodeling it. The house was poorly sited on its lot in a manner that drew very little natural light. The architects sized it up and quickly realized that the best solution would be to tear it down and start from scratch.

On a hill overlooking Lake Avándaro in Valle de Bravo—a popular weekend retreat about two hours west of Mexico City—lies the low-slung CMV House by Estudio MMX. The terrain around the lake is steep, rocky, and verdant, abounding with water-carved cliffs and boulders. The home’s site, in particular, boasts vast views of the lake and the dramatic mountains that surround it.

"The longer I work as an architect, the more I want to deepen my skills as a gardener," says Yuri Zagorin Alazraki, founder of the Mexico City firm ZD+A. In building his own house in Mexico City’s Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood, his commitment has produced results that appear miraculous. In fact, they grow out of a carefully choreographed series of bravura design moves.

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.

In search of a quiet getaway that could double as a vacation and holiday hub for extended family and friends, a Mexico City couple found a three-and-a-half-acre property in Valle de Bravo and reached out to architect Javier Sánchez to come up with a design that would make the most of the site. Architects Sánchez and Carlos Mar created a home with three volumes using board-formed concrete walls accented with charred wood.

Located in the center of Mexico City, the Cuernavaca House by Tapia McMahon entirely fills its site, closely abutting the adjacent streetscape. Upon entry, an ash stairwell extends from the ground floor to the roof terrace, acting as a sculptural element that connects all three floors. The striking residence has been selected for the RIBA International List for 2018.

When Pablo Pérez Palacios’ Mexico City–based architecture firm PPAA was tasked with building an apartment tower to meet La Colonia Roma's need for additional housing, he faced a problem familiar to developers in historic neighborhoods everywhere. The site was occupied by a dilapidated home that dates to 1925, and local laws required that the facade and part of the structure be maintained. PPAA’s innovative approach was to cut the original three-story home in half, preserving enough of the building to front the street and hold two apartments replete with classic Victorian details like high ceilings and restored millwork. In the back of the lot, they designed a sleek eight-story apartment tower that would hold an additional nine apartments, for a total of 11 units. Not bad for a site that was previously an uninhabited single-family house.

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