Collection by Zachary Edelson

A Daring Hillside Home Made of Wood, Concrete, and Volcanic Stone


A family home in Mexico flips the script on traditional layouts.

A family selected a difficult site—a steep hillside with 45° grade—for their new house in an affluent Mexico City suburb. While many nearby residents pay large sums to alter the landscape, the architecture firm Materia Arquitectónica had a radically different solution: place the main entrance atop the house and invert the ground floor-up progression of most homes. A unique stairwell would carefully shape how residents and visitors experience the house and surrounding landscape. Titled Casa U, the project also features a rich material palette of concrete, stone, and wood, all carefully considered to accentuate sunlight and the natural environment.

The house is built into the hillside but its top floor entrance is level with the street.
Walking across the pedestrian walkway, residents first glimpse the vestibule leading to the main stairwell.
The stair’s ceiling, delicately inscribed with the grain of its wooden formwork, direct views toward the path below and...
Thirty vertical feet of glass constantly face the stairwell, providing framed views of the sky, trees, and backyard.
Just as the stairs use movement to change how residents experience the space, the walls also provide a new and subtle...
At the base of the first floor landing, black recinto volcanic stones divide the first floor’s informal dining area...
Ample floor-to-ceiling windows mean residents rarely have to turn on lights during the day.
The home's materials are organized vertically: white exteriors towards the lighter sky, dark recinto stone close the...
A stone path leads from the backyard, up the hillside, and arrives at the streetside entryway.
The architects designed a picturesque texture for the hillside that provides a stimulating visual landscape.
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