KABAH 21


Location:   Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Status:       Project
Type:          Residential


Combining subtle family accommodation with generous spaces for entertaining, the design of this house in Playa del Carmen balances the constraints of the site with the alternating requirements for privacy and transparency. The project is designed under three premises: preserve existing vegetation, create a house that resists its tropical surroundings and develops a unit that benefits from natural lighting and views provided by its natural environment.


The tropical climate is exploited in the planting of the garden, while the deep overhang of the roof, raised above a layer of clerestory windows, offers protection from the sun and rains. The design of the layout seeks to preserve the preexisting trees of the site. Under this premise, it will be possible to preserve more than 80% of the different species and relocate the other 20% within the perimeter of the site.


Set into semi-flat terrain, the house is arranged in two levels. The cross-like layout of the house converges in the central double-height living room. The parallel wings contain family suites while a guest room cantilevers perpendicularly from the main block of the house looking out across the garden and pool. The central salon is designed to provide a setting for large events or more intimate gatherings. Within this space, the dining room is integrated with the kitchen in a glass pavilion, projecting into the garden.

The orientation of the house was determined in relation to the sun and the views towards the trail, making the architectural program enjoy a very close interior-exterior relationship. This not only manages to integrate the house with its natural environment but also allows cross ventilation and thermal comfort derived from the microclimate under the treetops. Window openings are placed to frame selected views, in which the positioning of trees and plants has been carefully orchestrated.
Six concrete walls support the house merging the engineering and architecture into a challenging geometry withtimeless aesthetic.   The inverted concrete beams in the upper level sustain the numerous cantilevers while setting free and continuous ceiling surface throughout the entire second floor. The stone floors and exposed concrete walls make the house brutalist while the illumination and interior decoration complement the tone and function of the different parts of the house, achieving a fresh and relaxing environment. The wooden formwork stamped on the raw concrete walls contrast the smooth floors making every room a sequence of tactile and lighting experience.

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