Elemental House is an architectural grand prize in Mexican charity raffle

Elemental House in Mexico, designed by Elemental-Alejandro Aravena, is to be offered as first prize in a raffle organised by charity Sorteos Tec

Hero exterior listing image for Elemental House for Sorteo TEC
(Image credit: The Raws - Paco Álvarez)

With Elemental House, a lucky architecture lover can use their passion to help communities in need. The new-built home is the most recent work by Chilean architecture studio Elemental-Alejandro Aravena, and will be the first prize in a raffle organised by the Mexican philanthropic institution Sorteos Tec to mark the occasion of its 75th anniversary. Proceeds will go towards the charity’s education programmes. 

'This house made for Sorteos Tec transforms architectural value into lottery tickets to finance the education of hundreds of young people and improve their quality of life expectations. This ends up producing a common good – something similar to what is done through social housing. That is what one as an architect seeks to achieve all the time: to contribute to the common good through a work,’ says studio founder Alejandro Aravena, winner of the 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize

hero exterior of round concrete structure

(Image credit: The Raws - Paco Álvarez)

The building, which spreads across an expansive 600 sq m interior, stands out for its sculptural concrete form, round shape and textured exterior. Located in San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León, in north-east Mexico, the home is estimated as worth a total value of $75 million Mexican pesos. 

Elemental House, the architects explain, uses learnings from Mexican architecture, specifically regarding strategies around designing for the country's particular environmental and climatic conditions. The stone, marble and cuéramo wood used in the interior also nod towards the local vernacular – in an interior design by Ana Landa and her office Línea Vertical. 

arch from the outside looking in at v

(Image credit: The Raws - Paco Álvarez)

The architecture team expanded on the design development and their inspiration: 'The double condition of castles has always struck us: they are fortresses turned inwards, protecting something inside that we cannot see, and simultaneously, they are a strong, monumental, abstract presence in the world. Castles are introverted but not shy. We wanted to capture some of that in this house: a place that almost silently takes care of private life and, at the same time, a place that is inevitably a declaration of principles in public life.

'On the other hand, we wanted to expand each of its programmatic components as much as possible. So, for example, by lifting the volume from the ground, the size of the public areas of the house matches practically the size of the whole lot. The same thing happens with the central vertical void: despite being a very tight transparent volume, a single glance allows perceiving the whole height of the house, from the ground floor to the open sky.'

inside looking out at Elemental House for SorteoTEC

(Image credit: The Raws - Paco Álvarez)

Anyone can buy a ticket to win the house, and the draw will take place on 22 December 2022. 

‘We developed this house to contribute to the solidarity project of the Sorteos Tec raffle, [making the] first prize a house. Through selling lottery tickets, the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey raises funds to grant scholarships to students who cannot pay for their studies,’ the architects say. 

interior of Elemental House for SorteoTEC

(Image credit: The Raws - Paco Álvarez)

view through floors at Elemental House for SorteoTEC

(Image credit: The Raws - Paco Álvarez)

courtyard and garden at Elemental House for SorteoTEC

(Image credit: The Raws - Paco Álvarez)


Raffle tickets available at: sorteostec.org

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).