La Extraviada by Em-Estudio from above

Em-Estudio builds concrete holiday home on Oaxaca hillside

Em-Estudio has built a holiday home on a steep hillside in Oaxaca, Mexico, from coloured concrete chosen to blend into the rocky mountainside.

Named La Extraviada, the house overlooks Mermejita beach in Mazunte, a small seaside town on southern Mexico's Pacific coast.

La Extraviada by Em-Estudio
Top: an aerial view of La Extraviada. Above: the house hugs the mountainside

Mexico City-based architecture firm Em-Estudio used polished cement mixed with brown pigments for La Extraviada's walls to camouflage the house with its lush natural setting.

"The shape and orientation of the project is determined by the topography of the land, adapting to it and trying to make the house look like it has always been there," said Em-Estudio architect Ivan Esqueda.

"All the materials used were thought of as elements that blend with the mountain, like stones that balance on a hillside," he told Dezeen.

The volumes designed by Em-Estudio are concrete
Em-Studio framed the staircase with stone walls

La Extraviada is made up of two concrete volumes that are independent of one another but joined by a pathway.

The main volume is accessed through an entrance at the top of the plot, next to a private car park.

The stone entrance to La Extraviada
The vestibule-patio is designed to keep cool

A staircase, sheltered by exterior walls to trap cool air, leads to a stone vestibule-patio and the house's front door.

On this level, there are dining and living areas, as well as a kitchen, pantry and laundry room featuring interior design by Esqueda's wife, Gala Sánchez-Renero.

Interiors by Gala Sánchez-Renero
A living space with doors that open on each side

Covered by a wooden roof clad in clay tiles, the living space opens out onto a long, sea-facing swimming pool. An adjacent stone roof terrace with clusters of local potted plants looks towards the same view.

Enclosed in stacked cubed structures are two bedrooms and two bathrooms at lower levels, each with its own patio that are smaller versions of the terrace.

Em-Estudio designed the project
Wooden shutters can open to the air

La Extraviada's rooms are protected by floor-to-ceiling wooden shutters that guard against extreme weather, but when open, take advantage of Oaxaca's frequently sunny climate.

"All the rooms were designed considering the cross-flow of air for keeping the spaces fresh," explained Esqueda.

"Each room has a ceiling fan and wooden windows that open fully, facing the main source of air coming from the sea and patios."

A roof terrace with sea views by Em-Estudio
The swimming pool is sea-facing

A staircase leading to two rooms in the cubed structures is accessed from one side of the roof terrace.

On the opposite side of the terrace is the stone pathway which connects the main block to La Extraviada's second volume that can be independently accessed.

This volume includes two separate studios housed on levels above and below each other, and an additional kitchen and bathroom.

A pair of small freshwater pools sit on two levels of the second volume. One is built into a terrace, and the other faces towards the mountainside.

The pathway connecting each volume continues down the hillside, spilling towards the beach.

Em-Estudio built shutters on the holiday home's facades
Regional wood features in the holiday home

La Extraviada is mainly made from regional materials such as guapinol wood and local stone obtained from nearby quarries.

Much of the interior carpentry uses macuil wood which is sourced from a tree that is native to Mexico.

Em-Estudio used regional materials as an aesthetic decision and an environmental one.

"We wanted to complete a project that respects its surroundings. We think the best way to do that is by using local materials that don't need to be transported for long distances and are easier to maintain," explained the architect.

Em-Estudio designed the holiday home
Stacked cubes form the house's structure

La Extraviada owes its name to extraviado, a kind of Mexican grouper fish. Esqueda described the inception of the house as an exciting period spent dreaming about its completion.

"Although there was a long way to go, the name came from a certain sensation that we were fishing for a dream."

A terrace on the second volume by Em-Estudio
Views from one of La Extraviada's terraces

More Mexican projects using locally sourced materials that blend with their surroundings include Zozaya Arquitectos beachfront apartments in coastal town Troncones, and Luum Temple by CO-LAB Design Office is a bamboo yoga pavilion.

Photography is by Diego Padilla Magallanes, Nin Solis, Ivan Esqueda and Emanuel Velásquez.

More images and plans

Level 33.7 plans by Em-Estudio
Level 33.7 plans
Level 39.0 plans
Level 39.0 plans
Level 42.5 plans
Level 42.5 plans
Level 46.0 plans
Level 46.0 plans
Level 52.0 plans by Em-Estudio
Level 52.0 plans
Level 30.5 plans
Level 30.5 plans
South elevation
South facing plans
Section A-A plans
Section A-A plans
Section B-B plans
Section B-B plans
Section C-C plans
Section C-C plans
Section D-D plans by Em-Estudio
Section D-D plans
The stone entrance
Interior design by Gala Sánchez-Renero
Interior design by Gala Sánchez-Renero
Rustic details in the kitchen
An open-plan living space
Sea-views from the swimming pool
Em-Estudio designed the volumes
The architecture is designed to resembles stones on a mountainside
Interior design by Gala Sánchez-Renero
Wooden shutters are flexible for Oaxaca's climate
Em-Estudio designed the holiday home in Oaxaca
Bedroom interior design by Gala Sánchez-Renero
The house has a roof terrace
The architecture comprises stacked cubes
Em-Estudio used regional materials