Barcelona and Mexico City-based studio Cadaval & Solà-Morales have recently completed the Tepoztlan Lounge, the first building of a larger project which comprises a series of bungalows of different sizes and designs, in a concept of hospitality which foresees a rental period of years, months or days.
The project is a negotiation between interior and exterior, building a habitable pore space, which becomes the central space of the project. The boundaries between the open and the contents disappear to produce a single spatial entity. The important thing is not architectural object, even its limits, what is really important is the spatial experience, and to build materials are used not only inherent in the discipline of architecture (walls, slabs, columns, etc..)
Situated amidst the luscious rocky cliffs to the south of Mexico City there is a curvaceous modern shelter designed by architects Cadaval & Solá-Morales. Called Tepoztlan Lounge, it offers visitors a great open space for living and lounging surrounded by wild vegetation. But the home’s most striking detail is the way it incorporates native trees, which grow from the ground straight up through the ceiling!
The design provides for three separate dwellings designed according to the three planned activities each is defined by its use, but also by a clear container of simple forms.
And it is through the definition of this central space, through the definition of its form, the adjacent courtyards take its true value. These are as essential to the project as the building itself, and allow the construction of a single total experience. In the same way that the enclosures provide continuity to the central area with regard to use and space adjacent open spaces and provide the diversity qualify giving idiosyncrasy open space.
The building has three concave elevations that shape the boundaries of two patios at the back and an egg-shaped swimming pool at the front. The design of the pool is part of this strategy, and responds to the will of one of the spaces characterize lateral necessarily respond to formalize the structure of the Lounge, incorporating in its possibility of multiple uses of water and your enjoyment.
An ideal space to spend long summer days, as it’s open, breezy and it hugs a nice round pool. It was designed to provide shade and shelter in hot weather, adapting gracefully to the existing vegetation while allowing it to unfold. The home is shaped like a three-point star to create separate living spaces at the end of each leg, while its center is used for communal space.
Its tri-point volume ensures there isn’t a front or back of the building, embraces every possible advantage of the views of the landscape and allows an openness that integrates internal and external activities yet provides shade and privacy if needed.
The structure’s triangulated footprint places three enclosed spaces at its corners, each bordering an open-air, covered hammock area. Visitors are immersed within the landscape of garden vegetation and may also enjoy the scenery from a circular pool.
Walls slide back across each elevation, opening the building’s central room out to the garden. “The lounge is set to be a central communal space for leisure in nature,” explain the architects.
The heart of the project emerges through the continuity between the three areas that meet in the middle and the architectural design in the form of a triple embrace with the environment that the 3 areas compose: an opening that does not exclude protection from the elements, but allows new activities on the threshold between home and nature.
Cadaval & Sola-Morales:
Tepoztlan, is a small town nestled between rocky cliffs located to the south of Mexico City, 50 kilometers away from the vibrant metropolis. With its well preserved historic center and wild countryside, Tepoztlan is a town of legends and deep cultural roots that has been appreciated by writers, poets, artists and musicians over many decades, turning it into their hometown or weekend retreat. Located in this incredible context and surrounded by an astonishing landscape, the Tepoztlan Lounge is the first building completed of a larger project that also includes a series of bungalows of different sizes and designs, which can be rented by years, months or days.
The lounge is set to be a central communal space for leisure in nature, and is located in the perimeter of an incredible lawn; the idiosyncrasy of the project relies on enabling the experience of the carefully manicured lawn while promoting the experience of the wild nature existing in the boundaries of this central space. The project is a negotiation between interior and exterior, a construction of an in-between condition, an inhabitable threshold, which becomes the main space of the project; the limits between the open and the content space merge to produce a single architectural entity.
The design establishes three separate living quarters designed in accordance to the 3 activities planned; each of them is a set space defined by its use, but also by a very clear and simple architectural container: the first holds an open bar with a kitchenette, together with a couple of restrooms and dressing rooms; the second is a play area for children that can also be used as a reading room when temperatures drop at night; and finally the largest container is the living area, an enclosed, tempered and comfortable space for conversation, TV, etcetera. But it is the desire to give continuity between these three separate areas where the project is empowered and becomes meaningful; a continuous space, in full contact with the nature but protected from its inclemency is set up not only to expand the enclosed uses, but also to allow new activities to arise.
And it is through the definition of this central space, through the definition of its shape, that the contiguous courtyards are defined; those are as essential to the project as it is the built architecture, and allows constructing as a whole, single spatial experience. At the same time that the three built containers give continuity to the central space by mans of their use and space, the adjacent patios qualify it, while providing diversity and idiosyncrasy to open space. The design of the swimming pool is part of this same intervention, and responds to the desire to characterize the spaces; its formalization necessarily resonates the layout of the lounge, while incorporating to its nature the possibility of a multiplicity of ways of using water, and plunging on it.
The building is located as a plinth valuing the views of the mountains. The building wants to be respectful to the existing context, and understands that the vegetation and life at open air are the real protagonist. Two impressive trees that are in place are incorporated within the layout of the lounge, as if they were part of the program itself. The Tepoztlan Lounge is constructed in concrete not just for being a inexpensive and labor intensive material in Mexico and to minimize its maintenance, but also to expose its structural simplicity and neutrality towards the astonishing nature.
Project name: Tepoztlan Lounge
Location: Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico
- Type By Characteristic: Holiday House, Green & Sustainable House, Modern House
- Type By Site: Forest House, Countryside / Suburb House
- Type By Size: Medium House – (201 sqm – 450 sqm)
- Type By Materials: Concrete House
Specific Use of Building: House for weekend retreat
Project Area: 250 sqm
Project Year: 2009
Construction Year: 2012
Completion Year: 2012
Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Architects: Cadaval & Sola-Morales – Avenir # 1 ppal 1a, Barcelona 08006, Spain / Tlaxcala #180 PB 06170, Colonia Hipódromo Condesa, Mexico city, Mexico
Project Architect: Eduardo Cadaval, Clara Solà-Morales
Collaborators: Eugenio Eraña, Tomas Clara, Manuel Tojal
Structural Engineer: Ricardo Camacho
Text Description: © Courtesy of Cadaval & Sola-Morales
Images: © Cadaval & Sola-Morales, Diego Berruecos, Sandra Pereznieto