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Exterior of a home with a steel structure and glazed walls revealing an open-plan living space

LBR&A creates dramatic cantilever for CH73 House in Mexico City

Architecture studio LBR&A has designed a residence that "breaks the imposed paradigms of construction" in a Mexico City neighbourhood where development has reportedly taken its toll on the landscape.

The CH73 House is located in the Bosques de las Lomas neighbourhood and occupies a long, slender site that slopes down toward a ravine.

One-storey house with a ddark metal structure cantilevering over bushes
The house extends 20 metres over the site

Designed for a retired couple, the full-time residence is meant to stand in contrast to the prevailing architecture in the area.

According to local firm LBR&A, the neighbourhood's natural environment has been severely degraded due to insensitive development. Flora and fauna have been decimated, and impervious surfaces – such as concrete paving – are inhibiting rainwater from reaching the soil.

Black metal cantilevering home over bushes
A dark wax patina was applied to the steel structure. Photo is by Jaime Navarro

"Within this context, the CH73 House is born as a self-sustainable proposal that breaks the imposed paradigms of construction in the area," the studio said.

In addition to sustainability concerns, the design was guided by several conditions, including the existence of a 30-metre-tall, masonry retaining wall that was built around five decades ago.

One-storey home with a metal structure and overhanging roof
The home was designed in contrast to the prevailing local architecture. Photo is by Jaime Navarro

Envisioning the project as an "architectural-structural piece", the studio conceived a two-storey building that is rectangular in plan.

The bottom level has concrete walls, while the upper level is framed with steel. A dark-hued, wax patina was applied to the steel structural elements to encourage "good ageing behaviour".

A street with three trees and a low-lying home behind dark grey boundary walls
Exterior walls at the entrance were clad in marble. Photo is by Jaime Navarro

One side of the house extends 20 metres over the site. Prefabricated components allowed for the cantilevering volume to be constructed without causing any damage to the landscape, the studio said.

The home's facade treatments vary. The entrance elevation, which faces a street, is opaque and clad in Arabescatto Orbico marble. The rear facades are more transparent, with glazed walls that usher in daylight and offer extensive views.

Totaling 1,023 square metres, the house has a mix of public and private spaces spread across its two levels. Spatially, the home is meant to feel "calm and diaphanous", the team said.

The upper level holds the entrance, communal areas and main bedroom. A landscaped garden is found outdoors. The bottom level contains a garage, gym, lap pool, bathroom and machine room.

"The spaces have a flexibility of use, which can be easily adapted to the changing needs of the clients," the team said.

Interior of an open-plan living space with granite floors, red bookshelves and grey seating
CH73 House was designed with passive ventilation strategies

Interior finishes include granite flooring, marble walls and aluminum-composite ceiling panels. The kitchen has a sliding door made of metal and frosted glass.

The house is designed to be net-zero in terms of energy usage.

Passive strategies, such as optimal orientation and natural ventilation, have helped reduce energy consumption. Electricity is provided by solar panels and a "geothermal foundation pile".

Open-plan living space with granite floors and sliding grey doors that separates the kitchen
A metal and frosted glass sliding door separates the kitchen

"This is essentially a system of underground pipes that are used to extract heat from the ground, which is then converted into electricity via a heat pump," the firm said.

"This allows the house to have a reliable and sustainable source of energy throughout the year."

Indoor swimming pool with dark grey flooring and glazed wall overlooking a garden
A swimming pool is located on the bottom floor level

A biodigester system was installed to treat wastewater, which is then used for irrigating the property and surrounding land.

"Additionally, rainwater is infiltrated into the subsoil to help improve the conditions of the local flora and fauna, particularly in a nearby forest area that has been impacted by human activities," the firm said.

The project also entailed rehabilitating the landscape. The team planted endemic species such as tepozán shrubs, Montezuma pines and avocado trees. Trees that had grown naturally on the site were saved.

Interior space with granite floors, slanted marble partition wall and glazed wall overlooking a garden
The home has granite floors and marble walls

"Overall, the house is an excellent example of how sustainable practices can be incorporated into residential design to achieve net-zero energy use and promote ecological well being," the studio said.

Other projects in Mexico City's Bosques de las Lomas neighbourhood include a culinary school by Belzberg Architects that has board-marked concrete walls, and a bathhouse by Arqhe Studio that features a stark composition of grainy white marble.

LBR&A, or  L. Benjamín Romano & Arquitectos, was founded in 1978. Among the studio's notable projects are Torre Reforma, a three-sided skyscraper in Mexico City that rises 246 metres, making it one of the tallest buildings in the metropolis.

The photography is by Frank Lynen unless stated.

More images and plans

Ground floor plan of the CH73 House by LBR&A
Basement plan of the CH73 House by LBR&A
Roof floor plan of the CH73 House by LBR&A
Section drawing of the CH73 House by LBR&A
Open-plan living space with granite floors, persian rugs and a white circular table with chairs
A bedroom with a grey bed and dark marble partition walls and furniture
Large windows looking out to the exterior steel structure of a home and outdoor garden
Close up of the metal structure and glazing at CH73 House by LBR&A
An open space with granite floors and a timber staircase leading to a basement
Stairs leading to a parking garage with granite floors and bright blue back wall
Exterior of a One-storey home with glazed walls revealing an open-plan living space
Open-plan living space with granite floors, persian rug, grey sofa and lounge chair with an ottoman
Open-plan living space with granite floors and a persian rug, and a kitchen separated by a sliding door
A one-storey black steel structure cantilevering over bushes
Sloping marble exterior walls with bench seating and a home with a black steel structure
One-storey cantilevering structure on a sloping site at night