Casa PN (2011) by ZD+A

Casa PN (2011) by ZD+A

Casa PN (2011) by ZD+A located in Mexico | The Hardt


Casa PN (2011) by ZD+A  located in Mexico. The basic design methodology involves an essential challenge to any system of design. This is achieved primarily through a critical analysis of two aspects:

a)     Site Analysis

b)     Program Analysis

For analysis, I really mean questioning not only the extrinsic or apparent elements but also those intrinsic or intangible. For example: In the first floor we consider orientation, geometry, constraints, solar exposure, views, physical factors (climate temperature, noise) hours of operation, The program is not a list of needs, instead, we try to integrate both material needs as well as effective and cognitive needs. The basic question is how to integrate dynamic needs to a seemingly static exercise (a building). The solution is often uncertainty, understood as a scheduled failure. The site makes the program which in turn defines the site. From the general to the particular and back, inside out. This is a lot between party walls located in Lomas de Chapultepec in Mexico City. It is a virtually flat and regular site (13 of frontage x 25 of depth). The only view corresponds to the front facade (west orientation) into a wooded glen, as there are taller buildings on the three boundaries. North-south orientation on the short or cross axis.



The dimensions of the site (about 310 meters) are not typical of this area because it mostly consists of larger lots (1000 square meters). The construction respects the setback dictated by building regulations (5 meters setback on the front) and approaches the southern boundary for maximum sun exposure during the day. The design scheme raises two primary actions: intervening the topography, to generate a new “tabula rasa” where besides serving as a base it is also inhabited inside. On this new modified territory, two boxes or volumes are stacked where the negative space becomes as important as the positive space. Creating spaces like the living room on the ground floor and the gym on the first floor, through a bridge and rooftop terraces.



In turn, the interior spaces are also determined by programmed volumes (storage, work, etc). This system of organization responds to an analysis of the program where the functions are grouped by level, with the public area on the ground floor (living room, dining, service) the family area on the first level (living room, bedroom, gym, garden) and on the top floor the more private area (master bedroom, living room, terrace, dressing room and bathroom)





The street facade respects the required setback and also sets a dialogue with the typology of the neighborhood, which in order to work with an upward slope, often presents a masonry wall (volcanic rock) and vegetation on top. Thus continuity is achieved in the urban fringe. One element of design that was used is to achieve the depth of the site can be understood from different perspectives, both long and short sense. This allows for a large spatial extent (both inside and outside). To achieve the desired finish, to translate the natural features of the environment, we chose a brutalist concrete. To this end, we used formwork based on reused poles horizontally modulated every eight inches. This texture is very attractive when it is bathed in natural light during the day and artificial light at night, which includes flush lights on the lower floor. Another purpose of this finish is to get the first level to transmit its own topographical nature as if it were pre-existent and emanated naturally from the ground.

Different types and uses of wood

Firstly, we used American oak, inked and placed in panels hiding doors and modular boards, which in turn contrasts with a much coarser application of reused wood on the stairs, the larger interior volume than starts on the ground floor and extends to the first level. This element promotes visual communication between the two levels.

Epoxy resin

This finish was chosen so that there was a clean and smooth relationship between different environments, and to simultaneously highlight the coarsest textures of concrete and wood. Epoxy resin is used on all floors of the house, except in the living room and gym, which by their nature and location suggested a different application. Thus, in the first case, we resorted to a dark marble (ebony) and in the second, ash staves.




Anodized aluminum is used for doors in black and in some cases, steel profiles with the same finish. The purpose was to ensure that the doors are naturally incorporated with the outside, for which we also designed them to be fully folded so that the boundaries between interior and exterior are diluted. This item, along with the large windows allow unobstructed natural light and a play of reflections that enrich the composition.


Landscape Architecture

Designed to dissolve the boundaries of the site and to provide greater depth and breadth, the landscape is present at all levels -Gardens, terraces, green roofs, and planters. Thus any sense of confinement is avoided and instead, we promote a continuous communion with green areas. Another purpose of gardening was to integrate the building with the natural environment and act as if it was already part of it and did not look artificial or “manufactured”. For a more efficient and self-sustaining maintenance, endemic species were chosen and a controlled, low consumption irrigation system was installed. Finally, the landscape design is incorporated with green areas, trees, and gullies of the front.



The first action or level is structured through exposed concrete walls that simultaneously address the materiality of the earth, the intermediate box is made of concrete walls, and the second box is a space frame or Vierendel truss that achieves large spans



The verticality of the project coupled with a pre-existing lateral building forced us to think of different mechanisms for the light to filter into the first level, this was achieved through skylights and small windows. The solar incidence on the third level (south facing – east to west) forced us to think of a lattice to offer the desired protection without compromising the views. Large windows allow reflections to be very important in the design as well. Space – Although the various spaces are rarely contained by a door, spatial clarity is achieved by dividing elements or level changes while achieving integration between the interior and exterior and a spatial fluidity.


Photos by © Yoshihiro Koitani



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Casa Finisterra by Steven Harris Architects

Casa Finisterra by Steven Harris Architects

Situated in the resort-community of Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Casa Finisterra by Steven Harris Architects | The Hardt


Situated in the resort-community of Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Casa Finisterra by Steven Harris Architects. The outline for this 6,000 ft² (557m²) home neglecting the Pacific Ocean was enlivened by its novel site and the offer of the sensational scene around it. Arranged on a bluff 250 feet over the sea, the house is the southernmost private living arrangement on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. As Steven Harris puts it, “one of our principal objectives was to stay off the beaten path of the perspective and of the site.” As such, the house is arranged to suit a grouping of perspectives and to reject the visual vicinity of close-by structures, making the dream that it exists altogether confinement on the primordial scene. The house is not a solitary building, but rather a bunch of structures at or subterranean level that embrace the rough projection and outline vistas of the shoreline and ocean.


Architect Steven Harris on Casa Finisterra from FilmCamp Films on Vimeo.


A bay window in the section court gives characteristic lighting to inside rooms underneath, which slide three stories down the bluff face, lodging rooms, a studio, and visitor flats. Open to the boundless scope of the ocean on one side and the desert on the other, the house’s insides turn into a progression of arousing encounters. A few rooms are a hole like, cut into the stone edge; others at the bluff edge are scarcely encased by the glass and appear to be suspended in mid-air.




By consolidating components, for example, uncovered stone dividers with mid-century present day furniture, the polish of the inside spaces are tempered by the somberness of the encompassing environment. A stair cut from the bluff rock and an outside shower with cut stone dividers permit you to encounter the house as a strict expansion of its regular scene and site. An 80-foot swimming pool sits on an outcrop in the bluff between the house and sea, caving in the space between the pool and the Pacific Ocean beneath. The house is produced using materials run of the mill to this district of Mexico: cleaned solid, glass, and local stone unearthed on the property.


Photos by: Scott Frances



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Colonial House Recovery in Calle 64 (2016) by Nauzet Rodríguez

Colonial House Recovery in Calle 64 (2016) by Nauzet Rodríguez

Located in Merida, Yucatan, México, Colonial House Recovery in Calle 64 (2016) by Nauzet Rodríguez | The Hardt


Located in Merida, Yucatan, México,  Colonial House Recovery in Calle 64 (2016) by Nauzet Rodríguez.  The project for this bar must strictly adhere to the nature of the building and its cataloging as a Historical Monument determined by the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico. This cataloging does not allow the modification of the property, having to recover the existing architectural elements and execute the project with absolute fidelity to the original work.


In this sense, we proceeded to the recovery of a balcony on the facade that had been modified years ago; restoration of existing doors in the cases that were possible and substitution by replicas in which either they did not exist or their condition was irrecoverable; reconstruction of two ceilings in the image and likeness of the originals; full recovery of original floors; repetition of finishes on walls; and introduction of hidden reinforcing construction elements such as reinforced concrete columns and enclosures. For the exterior area, the criterion applied was the consolidation of the spaces as they were found, preserving the traces that the passage of time has caused in the building.




The new uses of the property are therefore conditioned to the original construction and not vice versa. The location of the kitchen and its distribution, the bar area, living room and dining rooms, etc. they adapt rigorously to the rooms of the building and its circulations, resulting in a bar that, although it may not strictly respond to the most conventional typologies of its kind, becomes a space full of its own peculiarity and character, provoking experiences and journeys remarkably surprising for the visitor, born of the sequentiality of the building and full respect of the remodeling project. A stage at 40 meters visible from the street, rooms that are discovered while walking through the house, a fully open bar, a passable cupboard, a kitchen open to the garden. Given the impossibility of incorporating the bathrooms and services to the original building, these had to be built in the backyard and with the complicated task of adding contemporary elements to an old building. The use of apparent concrete was chosen as successfully, other architects of the region worked similar projects beforehand. This service module houses a warehouse, an office, and toilets for women, people with special needs and men.


The interior design of the project is dressed with an industrial/rustic aesthetic, with exclusive use of iron and wood avoiding the use of materials unrelated to the time and nature of the building. The installations have views, emphasizing the industrial aesthetic and avoiding the deterioration that its hiding would suppose on the original stone walls.


© Pim Schalkwijk



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Located in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, Casa Díaz by PRODUCTORA | The Hardt


Located in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, Casa Díaz by PRODUCTORA. The 4,843 ft²  (450 m²) home was completed in 2011 and adjoins a large lake in a small town situated a few hours from Mexico City. To take full advantage of the relationship with the surroundings, a system of elongated rectangular volumes was used, with one side of each completely open toward the lake.





The sloping plot and the amount of surface to be realized led to the creation of three volumes stacked in a zigzag pattern, generating spacious open terraces and irregular, sheltered patios between them. From the street, the residence looks like a traditional construction; the use of roof tiles, wood, natural stone, and the plastered facade with small openings, grants it the regional character that is required by urban planning requirements. From the lake, the house is perceived as a composition of rectangular elements with large glass surfaces; a series of typical modernist volumes, stacked in a dynamic configuration.


© Rafael Gamo



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ZIcatela House by Ludwig Godefroy

ZIcatela House by Ludwig Godefroy

ZIcatela House by Ludwig Godefroy located in the Roma District of Mexico City, Mexico | The Hardt


ZIcatela House by Ludwig Godefroy located in the Roma District of Mexico City, Mexico. ‘Emotional architecture,’ muses Emmanuel Picault, enveloped in a cloud of cigarette smoke at his flat in the trendy Roma district of Mexico City, ‘is one we cannot plan.’ He is referring to the term coined by the German-born Mexican artist Mathias Goéritz in 1953, which describes an architecture elevated to art for the purpose of inspiring emotion. Known primarily for their work on nightclubs and bars, French architectural duo Picault and Ludwig Godefroy, who are based in Mexico, have developed an intuitive and spiritually charged style that mixes modernist and pre-Hispanic influences. Picault is a well-known figure in the Mexican capital. With no formal training, he made a name for himself in the 2000s running Chic by Accident, a visionary antique gallery often credited with reviving interest in 20th-century Mexican design. He also worked on some acclaimed interiors projects, including the Revés bar in the upscale district of Polanco in 2007, which shot him to the forefront of the design scene.


Godefroy moved to Mexico in 2007 to work as an architect at Tatiana Bilbao’s studio, after a stint at OMA in Rotterdam. ‘Ludwig brought a strong architecture background to the table, which I didn’t have,’ says Picault, who likes to describe himself as an ensemble (literally one who ‘brings things together’). Although they originate from neighboring towns in Normandy, the pair met at a jazz bar in Mexico City. Excited by the potential of their combined skills, they decided to team up in 2010. The house is modeled on a Mesoamerican ball court, with its central element flanked by large, symmetrical stepped walls. Soon they were approached to design a nightclub, set in a rundown house once inhabited by the Indian radical thinker Manabendra Nath Roy, founder of the Mexican Communist Party. For the now iconic MN Roy club, in Roma, Picault, and Godefroy took inspiration from the bas-relief of the Uxmal ruins on the Yucatán Peninsula. A dramatic pyramid-like structure made of copper and timber encircles the DJ booth at the heart of the invitation-only venue, giving it a near-religious feel.



‘What I like about working in Mexico is to be able to revisit such varied references without the weight of history,’ says Godefroy. ‘I can combine pre-Hispanic influences with brutalism in an unvexed way.’ Other projects soon followed, including the Jules Basement cocktail bar in Polanco and the Nüba nightclub and restaurant in Paris, for which they shipped five tonnes of volcanic stone from Veracruz to Le Havre. Not wanting to be defined by their nightspots, the duo turned their attention to domestic projects. In 2014 they started work on Casa Zicatela, a beach house in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, the first building they designed from scratch. The house is modeled on a Mesoamerican ball court, with its central element flanked by large, symmetrical stepped walls. ‘In a way, the design was borne out of constraints,’ says Godefroy in reference to the budget and the 3,000 ft² (280 m²) plot of land. ‘The more constraints you have, the more radical your choices will be.’


Made entirely of concrete (apart from the tropical-inspired wooden doors and shutters), the glassless three-bedroom house very much resembles a bunker from the outside. But, inside, its strong, geometrical features create a powerful play of light and shadow, bringing life to the open living space, garden and swimming pool. ‘The light in Oaxaca is glorious,’ says Godefroy, who cites Carlo Scarpa and Louis Kahn as major influences. ‘You’re not restricted to living in one room, it’s all adjustable.’ He points to the large shutters, which, once closed, create a physical divide between the otherwise unenclosed spaces.

And just when they thought they were done with nightclubs, Picault and Godefroy received a request, late in 2015, to design Foro Normandie in downtown Mexico City. ‘En Français!’ exclaims Picault, delighted by the reference to his native region. ‘We said yes immediately.’ When the phone call came, they were in India, visiting the city of Chandigarh, master planned by Le Corbusier in the mid-20th century. There they came across Nek Chand’s Rock Garden – a sculpture garden started by a government official who secretly assembled material collected from demolition sites – and was struck by the creative use of cement cast in jute bags, giving surfaces an almost organic feel. ‘We wanted to reproduce something similar,’ says Godefroy.


They came up with an innovative technique, which became the signature element of the club’s aesthetic: ‘We stacked sandbags, like military fortifications, and poured the concrete over them.’ For Picault and Godefroy, adding more concrete to an existing basement


seemed natural. Their method was used across the 6,500 ft² (600 m²) space, creating porous, jagged surfaces – the ‘negative’ of the sandbags structure – illuminated with LED lights. Some of the walls’ salient edges reach head height. ‘That’s also the freedom of Mexico,’ says Godefroy of the experimental and arguably hazardous design. ‘It’s not as restrictive in terms of regulations and safety measures.’

After seven years, the pair has decided to go their separate ways once their current projects are finished. ‘We never really thought of ourselves as associates,’ says Picault, who is working on various architectural and interiors projects alongside his never-ending search for unusual antique items. ‘We were always two individuals who happened to collaborate.’ Godefroy is maintaining his enthusiasm for geometry and concrete as he embarks on a number of residential projects, some with French-Mexican architect Domingo Delaroiere, who contributed to Casa Zicatela. For their work together, they may be remembered as one of Mexico’s most impactful architectural collaborations – one that could not be planned.




Slide over to Wallpaper*  to check more art vibes or head over to the Ludwig Godefroy website and the Chic by Accident website



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