A modern stone house in Tepoztlán, Mexico, is camouflaged with its rugged landscape.
In a subtropical rainforest in Mexico, architectural firm EDAA was tasked with designing a modern dwelling for a their clients, a couple seeking a low-maintenance and sustainable home where they could regularly host family and friends. The environmental context was as inspiring as it was challenging: The home sits amongst the Tepozteco mountain range, a rugged rock formation home to 500-year-old Aztec temple ruins, about 50 miles outside of Mexico City. This unique landscape proved to be a logistical challenge during the construction process. Limited material supply and lack of modern infrastructure in the remote locale meant the team had to take a creative and flexible approach to the design and building process, favoring natural and local materials wherever possible. The final result is the ultimate indoor-outdoor home, where lines between natural and manmade are beautifully blurred.
With mountains as its backdrop, the home was built on the only area of the site without trees. Rough, natural basaltic stone makes up the home’s exterior, and the surrounding vegetation grows around and within the built structure.
From certain exterior angles, the house appears hidden by its environment. The surrounding trees envelop the stone facade, casting organic shapes and shadows over the angular dwelling.
Luis Arturo García, lead designer and partner at EDAA, wanted to create a home that was intimately connected to the natural environment; a home that never closed on itself. This was achieved primarily with pivoting glass doors, allowing the residents to take advantage of the mild climate while maintaining a constant visual relationship to the outdoors.
The home’s living room flows seamlessly into the outdoors. Mineral materials that were locally sourced and crafted were favored throughout the home. Polished concrete floors, natural basaltic walls, and white interior walls made of cement and lime plaster carry through the home. Aluminum-framed sliding doors separate the living room from the central patio. Traditional Mexican furnishings complete the space.
The dining room, adjacent to the living room, features expansive openings and an oval dining table with mixed-color plastic chairs.
A mesh steel bridge sits above a cast concrete outdoor canopy on the patio. Concrete floors are polished on the inside, and kept rough on the outside. A pine door leading to a lower level bedroom adds warmth.
The airy bedroom also features concrete floors and pine accents, including a traditional Mexican chair. Reflecting white tiles are used in the adjoining shower, and a hammock hangs in the background.
A solar-heated lap pool sits at the home’s perimeter. It makes a visual impact with white tiles in the lap lane, contrasted with black tiles in the jacuzzi.
One of García’s favorite features is the extensive hydraulic system, which provides the whole home with water year-round. The first of two water reservoirs is smartly concealed under the grass patio, with steel access door. This potable reservoir harvests storm water from the roof and runs it through sand, gravel, and ultraviolet filters. The output from this large reservoir provides water for drinking, showers, and laundry.
Every drop of water that is not captured in the potable water tank is funneled through stone canals to an open reservoir. The water here is in constant motion. An electrical pump, along with plants and fish, maintain the delicate ecosystem. This water is used for toilets, gardening, cleaning, and maintenance.
The home is seen in the context of the natural surroundings, with the iconic Tepozteco mountain in the background. By continuously opening to the outdoors and favoring materials that will age gracefully, the home forms a dynamic, symbiotic bond with nature.