by Jincy IypeSep 01, 2022
A champagne pink monolith resting atop a light grey one comprises Casa Bugambilias, located in Mérida, the vibrant capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán. Designed by Taller Mexicano de Arquitectura, the residential architecture imbibes a concrete lightness across two floors, designed in dialogue with its bare surrounding, and emerges as an understated, visual treat. The use of exposed and pigmented concrete is intentional, which “seeks the aging of these with the passage of time,” says Salvador Román Hernández, one of the lead architects of the project.
“The dwelling’s intention was mainly to function as a refuge in its immediate context, closing itself inwards, given that the neighbourhood is under development and there are some problems with security,” shares the Mexico-based architectural office. Because Casa Bugambilias is situated in a growing and ‘hostile’ area, an ‘inward’ operation was proposed by the design team, by closing off as many views from the outside. Hence, the appearance reveals itself as a monolith only with the necessary perforations that achieve ventilation and illumination, with towering boundary walls as its periphery. Regardless, the house inside opens itself onto its patios, to create a lighter, free-er environment.
The coloured volume generates a subtle contrast to the raw one below, the former housing private areas of the house. The ground floor hosts service and communal spaces, and is connected to the backyard and terrace via an internal patio, the main element of the project. “This patio works as a thermal regulator due to its lattice wall, fostering natural ventilation and lighting on both floors,” explains Hernández.
The main access opens into a vestibule that diverges into the living room on the ground floor, and a narrow, open air corridor that leads to a swimming pool placed at the end of the house, accompanied by a terrace. The living space is placed next to the double heighted patio, and faces an eight-seater dining table that sits next to a spacious kitchen island with an indoor garden as its backdrop.
Cream coloured concrete steps lead from a corner here onto the floor above with a TV room and study, three master bedrooms paired with two sets of bathrooms and closets, as well as a balcony. The car garage opens into the kitchen, with small service spaces lined on its side.
Mérida is a balmy city and the house mainly responds to its climatic, social and constructive context. The residential design employs energy from natural sources – light and ventilation – achieved via the heart of the project, the shaded internal patio.
The patio’s latticed facades help keep the house well illuminated, airy and light, and also become a decorative element. Upon entry, this space opens up to the main garden and creates an open-air setting, bringing one closer to the outside and away from the feeling of being “boxed in”, shares the studio. Apart from the latticed walls, Casa Bugambilias also opens itself at certain points with rectangular and squared windows, allowing views to the outside, in tandem with openable glass screens attached to the living room walls that connect with the terrace.
Once the Mexican firm began building, many samples for the pink concrete were made to achieve a texture and colour intensity they preferred. The main intention was to create a focused, but subtle contrast to the concrete materiality of the house, which often makes a space seem cold and dull. Natural light hits these surfaces to inculcate a cosier, lighter setting. “Another reason was because of its location - the bugambilia (bougainvillea) flower found in this region has a pink-red-purple hybrid shade, and we wanted to inject that floral personality. That is why the home ended up being named so as well!” shares the firm.
The client had asked Taller Mexicano de Arquitectura to erect a house for sale and gave a straightforward brief – to keep it simple and functional. “In the end, they liked it so much that they decided not to sell,” reveals Hernández.
Name: Casa Bugambilias
Location: Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
Gross Built Area: 263.5 sqm
Architect: Taller Mexicano de Arquitectura
Lead Architects: Salvador Román Hernández, Manolo Rodríguez Casares, Felipe Diaz Hernández, Carlos Rebolledo Ibarra