A sense of openness – Mexico

Christian Magaldi is a Mexican architect living in Miami with deep roots in his Mexican homeland. This modern concrete and wood villa is a retreat for a childhood friend and his family in the gated community of Merida on the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. In a unique departure from conventional homes this house has no front door since access to the community is controlled by the concierge at the front gate. With a personal connection to the client Magaldi was able to create a concept both sympathetic to the family and the unique character of the Yucatan climate.
Zoning restrictions framed the tight to set backs while opening the home around the curved corner property to benefit from natural light while catching the breeze through wood screen panels running along the exterior façade keeping the rooms shaded and cool.
The home is a version of the central courtyard plan we see in most warm climates around the world but strays from tradition by lifting the main floor from the terrain allowing air current to circulate from below and through the home keeping air-conditioning to a minimum.
The form and materials used in the home are quite simple. Concrete floors and walls, wood screens and stair treads from the Huanacaxtle or Parota tree, black metal stringer and curved metal panel handrail which create a very strong and organised simplicity. The concrete floor surfaces are very light while the walls surfaces inside and out are a darker shade of gray. A regional tradition of mixing tree sap into the concrete called Chukum creates a unique water resistant surface from the occasional heavy rainfall in this tropical forest landscape.
Curved concrete forms contrasting with angular forms create a satisfying counter balance along with the asymmetric space planning around the interior private court.
The sense of openness and minimalism achieved in this home seems to result from a cross cultural synthesis of Japanese simplicity, European theoretical analysis and Mexican regionalism paired with a deep understanding of a unique client.

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