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Casa Majalca


Parque Nacional Cumbres de Majalca, Chihuahua, Mexico

October 2021


José García Toledo (Lead Architect)


Fernanda Roiz (Project Team), Luis Carlos Rodriguez (Project Team), Aileen Garcia (Interior Designer), Manuel Jezzini (Structural Engineer), Carlos Estrada (Energy Efficiency Consultant


Aileen Garcia Ortiz, Jorge A. Treviño


Francisco Martin Alvarez de la Vega


CASA MAJALCA is conceptualized as a sustainable vacation house. The architectural program proposes bedrooms with the capacity to receive a complete family in each one of them; the rest of the house is composed with a large social area with terraces, a large storage area and a covered space for small cars.
The complex is a series of staggered volumes configured in a zigzag pattern around endemic trees, providing optimal solar orientation and views towards astonishing surroundings. An isolated volume houses nine solar panels necessary to meet the home’s energy needs.
These volumes are integrated into the landscape as characteristic stone monoliths of the Majalca National Park, with a color and texture that blends in with the land, reminiscent of the cultural past of the neighbouring archaeological sites of Paquimé and Casas Grandes.
With the collaboration of native artisanal labor, the project supports a local micro-economy and bets on a concept of imperfection with a rustic and brutalist character resembling a primary refuge or cavern.
The house was built with a construction system based on insulated block walls with a 3-inch concrete finish thick on both sides done with custom formwork. The roof, made of rolled sheet metal with a slope of more than 5% to cope with recurring snowfalls, is made of a metal structure, insulation and a wooden ceiling recovered from the crates used to transport construction materials. For water consumption, an elevated tank is feed with well water and a biodigester was considered.


Casa Majalca is in Cumbres de Majalca National Park at the North of Mexico, in a privileged location with excellent views of rock formations characteristic of the area.
The building is located in a lot with a 1: 4 ratio proportion, with a very narrow front, lacking public services (water, electricity, drainage, etc.). The lot is dotted with a couple of endemic trees that provide shade and refreshment to the ground, ending in a natural ravine at the back.
Cumbres de Majalca National Park was created by presidential decree at the end of the 1930s with the purpose of protecting the sources of several streams that supply water to the city of Chihuahua.
The park highlights an area of mountain ranges made up of volcanic rocks eroded and sculpted by rainwater and wind, surrounded by a forested area where pine/oak and tascate trees predominate.
It has a temperate climate most of the year, with occasional snowfall in the winter season. There is a group of settlers in the nearby towns of Guerachic and La Soledad. The settlers are responsible for the care of the park, as well as for the perpetual conservation of its biodiversity in collaboration with government institutions.
Local settlers and government seek the objective of rescuing traditional knowledge and practices and/or new technologies that allow the preservation of the park’s biodiversity.


Casa Majalca successfully integrates with its surroundings by recalling the park’s rock formations, blending with the landscape using the same earthy color in its concrete formwork and emerging from between a pair of pre-existing endemic trees.
These conditions have quickly made it a local landmark, standing out among other constructions as a contemporary and sustainable building with a new aesthetic. Rooted on traditional building systems and artisanal labor, the house provides a new identity for future local architecture.
The terraces and social areas encourage outdoor activities and allow socializing with the community in the area. In these spaces the owners organize at least once a month a gathering with a group of neighbors promoting coexistence and integration with the community.
The house is equipped for temporal stays (summers and winters), the proposed floor plan has ensured that all bedrooms are sized to accommodate a complete family on bunk beds enabling multifamily integration within the house.
The house was designed with particular attention to environmental sustainability and energy saving. The orientation of the house has helped considerably to adapt to the conditions of the seasons in which it is inhabited. In winter reducing the demand for heating, and in summer, protecting it from the sun’s rays. The construction system guarantees effective thermal inertia which, together with natural cross-ventilation, allows natural cooling in summer. Casa Majalca has surpassed users’ comfort and energy saving requirements, making it an example of microclimatic wellbeing in the area.

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