An architectural website has focused on Puerto Escondido this week with a guide to contemporary architecture in the region.
In a showcase of “decentralized Mexican architecture,” ArchDaily describes the town as a “benchmark for contemporary architecture,” presenting 13 world-renowned examples.
ArchDaily acknowledges that while Puerto has experienced several waves of architectural reinvigoration in the last few years, it identifies two main ones: the construction of Casa Wabi in 2016 and the start of the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020, an event that brought smaller, less populated and overcrowded parts of the country to the forefront.
Puerto Escondido has become a popular destination for tourists from all over the world, all attracted by different aspects, including its culture and gastronomy and, above all, the natural landscape that extends along the coast of Oaxaca and the multitude of experiences it offers.
Contemporary Mexican and international architects have found inspiration in the destination’s many characteristics to build some of the most iconic works in the region, in a positive feedback loop that accelerates the town’s rapid growth.
The list compiled by ArchDaily is made of local projects which have become landmarks in contemporary architecture in the region. Some of them can be visited by appointment, wile others operate as hotels.
Casa TO / Ludwig Godefroy Architecture
The project was outlined under the imprint of simplicity and conceptual elegance, where tradition and avant-garde trends are merged in an unprecedented structure embraced by the tranquility of nature. Its name, Casa TO, arises from the idea of serene contemplation in a space defined as the reinterpretation of a temple, which generates a radical sensory experience just by entering it.
Hotel Terrestre / Taller de Arquitectura X / Alberto Kalach
The complex is made up of seven buildings where 14 interconnected villas are distributed, each with its own private pool. These buildings are immersed in the exuberant flora and fauna of Oaxaca, offering impressive views in all directions. Hotel Terrestre seeks to be a place for nature and wellness enthusiasts, offering guests the opportunity to relax and reconnect through simplicity, beauty and rest. One of the main design philosophies was sustainability and the use of locally sourced materials to reduce the project’s environmental footprint, and features weather management methods achieved through innovative construction techniques that replace reliance on air conditioning.
Casona Sforza / Taller de Arquitectura X / Alberto Kalach
Located in Barra de Colotepec, Casona Sforza was conceptualized from the values of being aware of one’s surroundings, with contemplation and respect for the environment as a starting point. The adults-only resort describes itself as a “place on the Oaxaca coast where the delta of the Colotepec River converges with the sea and junipers, mangroves and oaks embrace this exuberant refuge and favor a reunion with the essential and the natural beauty, without artifice.”
Cova House / anonymous
Casa Cova is situated on a 100 by 35-meter piece of land 70 meters from the beach. The project was designed as a vacation home for two families, which involved the creation of two different compounds of private rooms that are connected through common recreational areas.
Villas La Escondida / Francisco Pardo Arquitecto
This complex adapts to the topography of the area, attempting to mimic it instead of competing with it. The units feel like houses, not apartments, due to the topography, the large outdoor terrace and the project’s philosophy of “maximum density, maximum privacy, maximum view.”
Casa Volta / Ambrosi I Etchegaray
The first thing one sees when approaching Casa Volta are three brick vaults floating in the middle of the dense vegetation of the Oaxaca coast. Later, following a small path, one plunges into the green and the vaults disappear. The biggest surprise is when, suddenly, a small clearing opens up and a small bench appears next to a long pool of water flanked on both sides by porticoes with rectangular columns that are reflected in it, giving the impression of having arrived at an abandoned classical temple.
Casa Naila / BAAQ’
Casa Naila is located on a point, with two fronts toward the ocean. It has a concrete platform which raises the flooring above the level of the sand. The patio is cross-shaped and has four seven-meter-high structures, with a sloped roofing that frames the views of the ocean. The wooden structure is covered with hueso de palma, forming a two-layer panel that protects the interior while allowing views, natural light and cross ventilation. The angle and the separation of the structures allow views of the sea from any room and, although simple, the scheme achieves a formal integration between the rocky landscape and the beach.
Casa Cosmos / S-AR
Casa Cosmos is a small house built around a center or core made of concrete slabs and columns with a raw finish, which offers protection to the minimal indoor living space: a bedroom, kitchen-dining room, living room and toilet area. Each area occupies a quadrant of the floor plan, forming an almost perfect square.
Casa Malandra / TAC Taller Alberto Calleja
Two misaligned structures define the configuration and dynamics of the typical patio house, including part of the existing vegetation, to which a natural water space was added, generating a new microclimate for the place. Both structures were built with concrete walls and wooden facades and are connected through a pergola that filters the light from the patio, while its long sides extend toward the sea and the mountains, “allowing from its location an unlimited dialogue in all its open faces with the territory.”
Casa Wabi / Tadao Ando Architect and Associates
Casa Wabi is a project of architect Tadao Ando in collaboration with BAAQ´ studio. Located 30 minutes from the city of Puerto Escondido on a 25-hectare plot, Casa Wabi is a foundation created by the artist Bosco Sodi with the goal of encouraging the exchange of ideas between artists of various disciplines and local communities.
Casa Zicatela / Taller de Arquitectura X / Alberto Kalach
Casa Zicatela is a project that is developed based on a series of concrete slabs connected by a staircase on the side and supported by four columns that visually extend to the bottom of a pool.
Hotel Escondido / Taller de Arquitectura X / Alberto Kalach
Hotel Escondido is a housing project consisting of 74 cabins. Each was designed based on a simple wooden structure, while its 3-by-3-meter modules resemble a network around the wet core in the center of the house, leaving a bedroom and common area at opposite ends with views of the landscape and a large covered perimeter terrace. Using the same module concept, other rooms function as kitchen and dining room.
Casa Altanera / Taller Alberto Calleja
Casa Altanera is located within the Onda Oaxaca complex. The plot has an area of 2,500 square meters on a minimal slope. The house occupies 15% of the total of a rectangle of 25 meters in front of the sea and 100 meters deep to the north.
Twice each month, ArchDaily explores new territories with the Arquitectura en México series, putting big cities aside for a moment and bringing the spotlight to new practices that take place around the country.