by Pallavi MehraAug 07, 2023
Located on the outskirts of Valle de Bravo, in the town of San Simón El Alto in Mexico, the Gardenia House is a captivating piece of residential architecture. Designed by Mexico-based Estudio Atemporal, the concept of the house revolves around creating a contemporary cabin that embraces its surrounding environment, celebrates natural light, and incorporates geometric forms to create a contemporary yet grounded home.
The oversized gabled roof is the most prominent architectural feature of the house at first sight. It extends beyond the footprint of the home, creating a covered patio. The roof is a blend of traditional and contemporary design and form. The overall roofscape pays homage to the traditional red-tiled roofs dotted across the country while the use of metal gives it a more contemporary and easy-to-maintain finish.
The double-height public area beneath the roof allows for an airy and spacious atmosphere, accentuated by wooden finishes and astutely designed lighting. The open-concept layout seamlessly connects the kitchen, living, and dining areas under the large volume of the roof. These spaces extend out into the patio and the garden through large glass doors and windows, enhancing the sense of unity and openness throughout the home.
A unique reading nook tucked away in a corner of the communal area provides a cosy secondary space for relaxation and introspection. It is illuminated with a circular window at the roof's gable end. With two bedrooms on the ground floor, the primary bedroom wing is located on a partial second floor, offering its occupants privacy and tranquillity. This bedroom also has its own terrace and an indoor-outdoor bathroom that with pivoting glass doors.
Warm wooden accents define the interior design, creating a comforting and inviting atmosphere. Skylights illuminate the brick walls, infusing the space with natural light and establishing a harmonious connection between the built environment and the sky above. The brick finishes throughout the inside and outside of the house lend a sense of continuity and connection through the spaces.
The furnishing of the house is minimalist but not bare. It takes inspiration from classic designs and uses light pops of colour to modernise it, further leaning into the rustic contemporary concept. Potted plants are used to bring in the green from the surroundings.
The Gardenia house is designed to be more than a home. The Mexican architects have designed the dwelling to be a sanctuary that impacts the health and well-being of its habitants. It creates spaces where people can unwind, rejuvenate, and connect with nature. The design thoughtfully and carefully combines the rustic charm of a cabin with the modern comforts of a fully equipped house, creating the ideal home for holistic living. The inhabitants can enjoy the serenity of the countryside without compromising on convenience and functionality.
The seamless integration of the public area with the surrounding natural landscape is achieved through the use of wide windows and glass doors that open completely, blurring the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces. By doing so, the house establishes an essential connection with its context, allowing the inhabitants to truly immerse themselves in the natural environment and leave the city behind.
Beyond the spaces for its habitants, Estudio Atemporal also employs sustainability to make the house truly belong to its surroundings. The studio used locally sourced construction materials while promoting regional craftsmanship and reducing transportation-related emissions. They have included rainwater harvesting in the design where rainwater is collected and re-injected into the soil, ensuring responsible water management. The house also incorporates a sewage treatment system to minimise its negative impact on the local ecosystem. Furthermore, energy-efficient lighting and electrical equipment contribute to reducing energy consumption.
Valle de Bravo and its surroundings have become sought-after destinations for those seeking a retreat from the city. The Gardenia House contributes to the region's architectural landscape by belonging to its surrounding without losing itself in it.
The Gardenia House offers its habitants a modern and sustainable living experience and stands as a testament to Estudio Atemporal's skilful execution of a contemporary cabin that embraces its context and uses it to promote a deep connection with nature. The design, though reduced to an oversized roof at first glance, is actually an amalgamation of thoughtful and sustainable features that have been designed to maximise the comfort and convenience of the habitants.
Name: Gardenia House
Location: San Simón El Alto, Mexico
Built-Up Area: 143 sq. m.
Year of completion: 2022
Design Firm: Estudio Atemporal