This holiday home in Mexican beach town Zihuatanejo was designed by Zozaya Arquitectos to step down a steep slope towards the Pacific Ocean.
Casa Z sits high above the small town, which is a popular tourist destination on Mexico's Pacific coast due to its warm climate and expansive beaches.
"The main concept of the project was to create a minimalist house with rich social spaces where users could enjoy the panoramic views and the climate of the region," Zozaya Arquitectos said in a project description.
A natural stone wall hides the property from the street, revealing only the master suite perched above the rest of the home. Three narrow volumes stack vertically, providing residents with the best possible views of the ocean below.
An opening in the property wall reveals a few steps that lead down to a yard in front of the 470-square-metres home.
The middle level, at grade with this garden, is bookend by two concrete walls on the short end, while two sliding glass walls face the ocean and the garden, allowing the slender space to be almost completely open.
The open-plan kitchen, living and dining room leads out onto a terrace overlooking the water, where an infinity pool creates the illusion of a continuous body of water just outside the home. Here, wooden furniture and lush plants contrast the home's exposed structural elements.
An exterior staircase leads to the guest bedrooms, one storey down. There are two suites on this floor, each of which enjoys a small terrace and an en-suite bathroom.
Black steel canopies support bamboo lattices that provide shade to certain areas, like the exterior staircase at the back of the house, or the kitchen and part of the terrace at the front. Irregular plaster walls add to the building's handmade and tropical aesthetic.
"This mix of materials and local construction techniques gives the house a strong modern and tropical personality, successfully adapting to its context and being in harmony with nature," said Zozaya Arquitectos.
Another concrete staircase brings residents from the living area up to the master bedroom, at the highest point of the home. "This space frames the view and creates the sensation of flying in the air due the altitude," said the studio.
To provide the most natural light to this space, Zozaya Arquitectos built two glazed openings, one facing the street and the other facing the Pacific Ocean. To protect the owner's privacy, the street-facing windows are fronted by a tight lattice of bamboo slats, which filter light with an irregular pattern.
A similar shading system was recently used on a sustainable farmhouse in Brazil, by Studio MK27. In the popular Mexican surf town of Sayulita, Main Office renovated another home that steps down to the waterfront, providing living spaces on multiple different levels to accommodate the grade change.
Photography is by Rafael Gamo.
Leader of design & project: Architect, Daniel Zozaya Valdés
Project team: Enrique Zozaya, Ángel Sotelo, Luis Alonso, José Antonio Vázquez, Ana Karen Cadena, Esthela Valenzuela.
Construction company: Zozaya Arquitectos
Structural design: Omar Hernández