A strong connection with the outdoors and contextual harmony were integral to the design of this holiday house created by young Mexican architecture practice EDAA. Casa Meztitla sits at the foot of the sacred El Tepozteco Mountain, near the popular town of Tepoztlán in rural central Mexico. Designed as a couple's retreat for leisure and entertainment, the house blurs boundaries between indoors and outdoors, with wide rotating glass doors opening up to welcome the surrounding nature inside.
EDAA head architect Luis Arturo Garcia explains that the house is divided into four distinct zones: the social spaces, consisting of living, kitchen and dining areas leading out to the portico and garden; the service zone off the central courtyard, accommodating a toilet, shower room, laundry, storage and grill for alfresco dining; a row of four bedrooms, each with their own ensuite and patio; and a work/live studio space above, with access across roof terraces formed by the floor below.
Whilst allowing guests to connect with the outdoors and appreciate the region's warm subtropical weather, the scheme also aims to blend into the natural landscape, and prioritises sustainable living. With the building covering just 400 sq m of a 3,800 sq m site, the clients were left with large swaths of rugged garden, and used part of it to install an environmentally friendly storm water harvesting system.
Responding to the pressures of Mexico's seasonal conditions, stormwater is collected in the wet season. It is stored and purified for drinking and use throughout the rest of the year. Greywater is also recycled for flushing toilets, gardening, cleaning, and for the benefit of local wildlife struggling in the drought season. Storage is split between two containers: the potable reservoir sits beneath the central courtyard, whilst a maintenance reservoir sits further from the house. Their combined capacity reaches 280 sq m of water.
The residence is, Garcia suggests, 'context in itself'. Natural stone clads the concrete structure, camouflaging the house into the craggy backdrop beyond, so that only the monolithic white box of the upstairs studio - and a blossom of vibrant bougainvilleas marking the site boundary - announce the presence of this modern, tranquil home amidst the area's wooded landscaped terraces, formed over five hundred years ago by native Tepoztecos.