by Jincy IypeMay 22, 2023
Located in Tulum, Villa Cava was designed for a couple awestruck by the natural beauty of Mexico. Tulum was an ancient Mayan walled city, the ruins of which still dot the cliffs along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea. Tulum is one of the best-preserved coastal Mayan sites and offers a panorama of history and biodiversity. Inspired by this rich landscape, Espacio 18 Arquitectura has designed Villa Cava, a luxurious residence that connects its guests with the surrounding environment.
The Mexican architects designed the house to blend in with the existing landscape. Known for their pioneering take on contemporary Mexican Architecture, Espacio 18 Arquitectura creates a sense of belonging in all of their projects by embracing elements from its surroundings. For this project, the form was derived keeping in mind local construction regulations, negotiating with existing trees and the surrounding natural habitat. The house, being inspired by brutalist architecture, was constructed using raw wood-formed concrete, the stark geometries of which are balanced by the softness of the lush greens. The concrete architecture design gradually reveals itself as a carved sculpture and provides a unique sensory experience. The chosen materials are context-sensitive, locally sourced, and consider the humidity and rains, as well as the potential risks of hurricanes.
The project was conceived with the aim of fostering a sense of togetherness in a space that facilitates relaxation, inspiration, and personal growth. The villa design is inspired by the ambience of a cave (cenote). On the ground floor, one can find a study, an open-concept chef's kitchen, and a spacious social area that leads to a swim-up pool. The villa's upper floor is dedicated to private quarters, housing bedrooms, and a master suite with lofty 30 ft ceilings and strategically positioned skylights that bathe the room in soft natural light. A remarkable 20 ft by 20 ft single-pane square window forms a captivating "living painting" that frames uninterrupted views of the lush jungle. The massing of the structure features various changes in height that generate excitement with the compression and release felt across consecutive spaces. These spaces are artfully designed to foster a multi-sensory exploration with every journey across the villa.
On the rooftop, a second private outdoor seating area capitalises on the breathtaking vistas of the neighbouring jungle reserve. Similarly, the interior design of Villa Cava, composed by Kayla Pongrac, is truly awe-inspiring. It elevates the project into a luxurious, livable space akin to a high-end hospitality-grade home. The villa is brought to life through a concrete portal thoughtfully constructed around two majestic trees, which serves as an entrance to the lobby area. This inviting space receives natural illumination from above, emanating from a pool design that casts a mesmerising interplay of water and light onto the walls, which creates a warm and enchanting ambience for all who enter.
The Oaxaca-based architects have designed a holiday destination where nature, luxury, and design interact to provide guests with a unique and unforgettable stay. Villa Cava serves as a gathering place where people from diverse backgrounds can come together to live, socialise, and enjoy their independence within the various spaces curated by the designers, while simultaneously being immersed in nature.
Name: Villa Cava
Architects: Espacio 18 Arquitectura
Architect in charge: Caty and Pato
Team: Mario Ávila, Carla Osorio, Sonia Morales, Andrea Fox, Adrian Salamunovic, Caty, Pato and Kayla Pongrac
Location: Tulum, Quintana Roo
Building area: 445 m2
Interior Design: Kayla Pongrac
Developer: Adrian Salamunovic
Landscaping: Di Tulum
Suppliers: Interceramic for Bathroom Furniture and hardware; CEMEX for Concrete
(Text by Aatmi Chitalia, Intern at STIR)