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2016 MCHAP

Equestrian Project

Manuel Cervantes Cespedes / CC Arquitectos

Valle de Bravo, Mexico

October 2014


Manuel Cervantes Cespedes


Jose Luis Heredia Alvarez (Architectural Design)




Iwan Baan Rafael Gamo Fassi


When I received the commission for this project, the client already had a well-defined idea: he wanted to raise horses and live close to them in the same space. A few months later, when we visited the land available for the construction, in the middle of the woods we found an opening surrounded by oak, ocote, pine and arbutus trees. Hence we decided to leave the smallest possible footprint on the site—an approach that pleased the client. We studied the topography and found the plot had a gentle slope, and so we integrated the architecture within its context. We positioned the different spaces through earth movements in order to nest the stables within the topography so that they did not obstruct views over the dense mountain vegetation. By doing so we reduced the visual impact of the construction’s size: we visually narrowed the heights required by horse riders on their mounts and suitable proportions were maintained for people.


The Equestrian Project is located in a forest like area in the Mexico. It consists of 20 horse stables and a riding ring; 4 suites, terraces and resting spaces, and the adequate amount of service areas for the use and maintenance of each space. The project seeks to take advantage of the site’s topography being that it has a slight inclination, where the stables where semi-buried, allowing to conceal these areas and take use of its roofs as green areas that help repair the land’s image.


We played with the idea of positives and negatives when designing the construction on the plot, so that the spaces were joined together by routes shared by people and horses alike. We used gently sloping ramps for people to walk around and discover the architecture. Another defining quality of this project that I like to emphasize is the contact between the interior and exterior: every space is somehow filled with views of the surrounding woods and vegetation, together with natural lighting and ventilation. In its structure and materials, this project keeps complexity to a minimum: the use of repeated structural frames is a straightforward language of form and function, an approach with which I identify. This unfussy construction style creates a unique atmosphere; no extra flourishes are needed. The wooden and metal elements that give the shape to the main hall create a welcoming and dark-toned ambience, with light openings as a compositional feature, and rustic finishes, windows and openings painting clearly defined patterns on the floor. The house and stables are joined together initially through circulation routes and then by the similarity of the elemental finishes, connecting the human to the equestrian world.

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