Adobe, Brick, and Black Steel Combine in an Artist’s Rustic Retreat in Oaxaca

The steel provides a framework for the earthen structure, a live/work space that looks like it’s been here all along.

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Project Details:

Location: Oaxaca, Mexico

Architect: Espacio 18 Arquitectura / @espacio18

Builder: Espacio 18 Arquitectura / @espacio18

Carpentry: Orvesa Diseño

Engineer: LM Estructuras

Steel work: Alfredo y Ramon

Photographer: Camila Cossio / @_camilacossio

From the Architect: "Casa Plúmula is named after the "plumule’—the rudimentary shoot from which the stem, the leaves, and the flowers originate. The project is a workshop, a house, a meeting place, a refuge, and is also home to a flamboyán tree.

"The client, Amy, is a plastic artist who works abroad and wanted a space to live and work when visiting Mexico. She acquired half of a small house in the northern part of Oaxaca that had been built several decades previously and suffered from various structural problems. The brief was to preserve certain pre-existing adobe (earth) walls and intervene via a structure to create leisure spaces, a ceramic workshop, and a bedroom.

"Through a light steel structure, we reinforced the construction and expanded the spaces. Sliding windows blur the boundaries between interior and exterior and allow the vibrant tree to remain a visual focus. The house is crafted from steel, adobe, pine timber, and red brick—all materials known by the local workers and within the budget. These materials also create warm spaces and the monochrome finishes visually expand the interior.

"The house responds very passively to the context, with a solar heater, a rainwater harvesting system, LED lighting, and adobe walls that retain warmth in winter and insulate from the heat in summer."

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