A Matte Black Home in Mexico City Opens Up to 360-Degree Forest Views
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A Matte Black Home in Mexico City Opens Up to 360-Degree Forest Views

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By Kate Reggev
Nestled in a forest in southern Mexico City, this home has an intimate relationship with nature and the outlying landscape.

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.

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The basement of the home is partially embedded in the terrain, where the top of a natural hill creates the ground floor plane. This first floor is accessed by concrete steps.

Inspired by the lack of neighbors and proximity to nature, the design team sought to "explore the relation of the house with its environment," says PPAA. Working with an essentially square volume, they carved away voids that became covered outdoor porches at the ground level, double-height spaces inside, and skylights for the upper level. Each void "has a particular purpose that complements the interior space, views, and terraces," says PPAA.

Each porch has two exposures. Although they’re located on opposite ends of the home, the two porches offer a combined 360-degree view of the forest beyond.

The two sets of concrete steps hug two sides of a void, allowing the open porch to retain two exposures.

The home’s plan is divided into a grid of nine equal squares, which allows for distinct spaces with similar proportions. The voids also follow the grid, creating spaces that are open to each other but also subtly separated. 

Floor-to-ceiling sliding doors enable indoor/outdoor living, while punched windows frame views throughout the home.

One of the voids is open to the sky above, letting in daylight and framing the firmament.


The voids are located in opposite corners of the home, each providing 180-degree views of different vistas. Together, they create a 360-degree panorama of the surrounding forest. 

The central space in the home has double-height ceilings. The smaller adjacent areas, like the kitchen and dining room, benefit from the natural light and sense of openness.

The interior material palette is even more subdued than the exterior, allowing the greenery of the forest to contrast with the simple white and wood finishes.

Walls of floor-to-ceiling glass open up to the covered porches, allowing sunlight to stream in. Strategically placed skylights in open corridors and double-height spaces provide additional daylighting.  

Ceilings are typically composed of simple white plaster or exposed wood beams. The flooring, furniture, and window frames are also wood.

The dining room does not have direct access to one of the porches, but instead has large windows with wood frames and shutters that provide views and ventilation.

PPAA has completed several projects throughout Mexico including private residences, apartment complexes, offices, and cultural buildings. They are inspired by "nature, where textures, wind, temperature, soil, and scales create a sensorial atmosphere."

The kitchen continues the simple palette seen in the rest of the house, with wood floors, countertops, and stools. The cabinets and backsplash are glossy white, and the appliances are stainless steel.

An upstairs office features built-in millwork and a wood-topped desk, with plenty of surface and storage area. A window is carefully placed in front of the desk for natural light and views.

A skylight infuses interior spaces with natural light, and the glossy finish helps reflect light despite the dark material.

Related Reading:

A Remote Holiday Home Celebrates Raw and Natural Materials in Mexico 

Glass Walls and Wooden Screens Strike a Balance in This Mexican Home 

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: PPAA / @perez_palacios_aa

Structural & Civil Engineer: BVG ingenieras

Landscape Design: Orlando Villavicencio

The lower level of the Tlalpuente House features a central double-height living area, a kitchen, a dining area, and a bedroom. The second floor is accessed via a staircase that fills up one of the nine spaces of the home's geometry.

The upper level holds two bedrooms, a living room, and open space for the double-height living areas and porches/terraces below.