2016

MCHAP

Meztitla House

Luis Arturo Garcia Bazan

Tepoztlan, Mexico

April 2014

PRIMARY AUTHOR

Luis Arturo García Bazán

CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR

Juan Hernández Flores (Architect) Jahir Villanueva Martínez (Architect (Design)) Antonio Rivas Lozano (Architect (Design)) Hans Álvarez Correa (Architect (Construction)) PBS (Structural Calculation) Ultimando Velasquez (Installation design and construction) Descarga Cero (Hydraulic Consultants)

AUTHOR

Lilia Bazán

PHOTOGRAPHER

KUU Studio

OBJECTIVE

The house´s theme is not about the program but the never ending relationship between indoors and outdoors: there is no way one can go from an area to another without walking through outdoor spaces; every area (except for services) is open to the exterior in a way that one can actually be out of the house by crossing any door. The house works like a series of rooms connected through diverse types of outdoor areas. At the end, the mild subtropical weather was used as an excuse for not building a house that closes to itself, but that continuously opens to the natural environment and hopefully it will bond the house, its living and nature in a symbiotic relation. Furthermore, the project needed a water system to provide enough water for the house all year round. Conceptually, this storm water management captures every drop of rain that touches the property (3800sqm), uses it in different ways, and does not let a drop out. In this region the rain season lasts (intensively) only from July to September/October. The objective was to collect water in abundance and have a piece of land that in some way or another is constantly irrigated.

CONTEXT

Casa Meztitla is an intervention of a natural scenario. It showcases the luxurious value of leisure, the tropical weather, the intense sunlight, the smells of nature, the over 500 year-old landscaped terraces and the ever-present rock mountain: El Tepozteco. It is context in itself. The house, built out of rough stone, crawls low under the trees, aligned with the vegetated-covered stone slopes. It is the creation of pure space within the natural space (Paz, O., 1987). It has a hushed living, yet it is continually open to its surroundings. Only two elements reveal its existence to the outside world: the colorful bougainvillea flowers showing randomly through the trees’ dense foliage, which mark the plot’s perimeter and the massive and monolithic white box that emerges through the treetops.

PERFORMANCE

Social Context: 70% of the construction labor work was local. The project was designed so it could be executed according to the constructive craft of the region: the volcanic rock masonry. Craftsmen from Mexico City executed more specialized carpentry and metal works. Material Context: The construction materials are mineral and ordinary, locally provided and crafted: concrete, volcanic rock, cement block, a mix of white cement and lime and wood. The reason for this simple and logical selection of materials throughout the project was for economic and contextual reasons, as per client´s request to have a house in a subtropical rainforest, which is easily maintained. The materials will age naturally and blend with the context! Vegetal Context: The house is not a viewpoint; it is inserted inside the low jungle without modifying the site except for the emplacement area of the house. The location of the different house elements was arranged so the existing trees were not affected. Hydric Context: Two main (three considering the pool) water collectors/reservoirs exist: the drinking water collector that is covered under the grass patio, and the open reservoir. This open structure is a fragile but effective ecosystem: is balanced through water plants, fish and an electrical pump for water to be in constant movement.