The residence “Entre Arboles” (amongst trees) is the result of a deep analysis of the site. The lot is in a golf course, it is a regular rectangle of 20 by 80 meters and has 52 trees in it all of different sizes and heights. The principles we always apply as part of the office’s philosophy are directed towards respecting the pre-existence of the site, especially if it’s something natural or patrimonial and since this lot has very dense vegetation our first action was to meticulously measure each tree to be able to design the house without knocking down any trees not even the little ones.
The diameter of the trunk, the opening height of the foliage and its measurements where all taken in account so the construction wouldn’t get too close and force us to crop the trees and above all to be able to locate the clearings and set the house there. With these previous works we located 3 clearings but none of them big enough to fit the whole house, this is why the program of the house is divided between the 3 openings in the vegetation.
In the clearing closest to the street we placed the services: the garage, the maid’s room, storage and laundry. In the second opening which was the biggest one and had the best trees around it, we located the main house with the living, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. And in the third clearing, the one closer to the golf course we designed the pool and the terrace which are spaces that are used a lot here in Yucatan because of the breeze and the shade that it provides along with the magnificent views. It is this way that the 3 volumes of the house are amongst trees.
Two of the volumes, the first and the last, are orthogonally placed on the lot but the central volume has a rotation intended to face a “flamboyan” tree that is the main guest to the party at the social area and the bedrooms, this turn gives movement to the composition. All the spaces are oriented north-south to gather the best light and the dominant winds procuring crossed ventilation. To unite and connect the volumes and achieve a correct functioning of the residence we traced an axis that runs from north to south.
This axis is a circulation that pierces the volumes and gives unity to the whole. By walking through it from one end of the house to the other you’ll go through exterior and interior areas enjoying the trees, reinforcing each moment the idea of the house with its sensibility towards the site and its respect for nature. The owners of this house have a great artistic vein so we wanted to provide lots of walls and exhibition spaces for their artistic pieces in the interior as well as the exterior.
The second main idea in the design was to develop a strong and simple geometry, using just a few materials: prefabricated concrete with its apparent finish for the walls, and white ceilings to contrast with the grayness of the concrete. For the interior floors the concrete was treated with an ancient process inherited from our mayan ancestors using the bark of the “chucum”, a wild tree that grows in our lands, to give a special consistency to the water used to mix the cement and generating a concrete with a very peculiar color and better elasticity to avoid fissures.
A wooden deck is the floor for the circulation axis of the house, made of tropical woods from our region. It has irregular perforations from which trees emerge and that also allows to create spaces to place exterior furniture. The virtue of this Project resides in the way it sits on the lot and takes in the place. Because it is amongst trees the house is barely visible to the golfers on the green. Even the pool that throws itself to the golf course ends in slope of grass that provides privacy to this social area. All the public spaces overlook north and offer great views just by opening a window, giving the inhabitants the feeling of being inside a tree.Location: Merida, Yucatan, Mexico Architect: Muñoz Arquitectos Asociados | Arch. Javier Muñoz Menéndez Name of the project: “Entre Árboles” (Amongst trees) Type: Residential- single family residence Design team: Arch. Gareth Lowe Negrón, Arch. Patricia Ríos Muñoz, Arch. Ileana Cedeño Guevara, interior designer Mariana Correa, Arch. Roberto Rodríguez Castellanos Total built area: 524.77 square meters
Site area: 1,687.75 square meters Built in: 2010 Photography by: Rolando Córdoba Builder: TARAN
Lic. Esteban Muñoz Castillo
Engineer Eduardo Muñoz Medina Prefabricated concrete: PREDECON S. de R.L. de C.V. Engineer Enrique Escalante Galaz