Santa Maria housing Valle de Bravo, Mexico Architecture, Building Pictures, Architect

Santa Maria housing, Valle de Bravo

New Residential Building in Mexico – design by Hierve-Diseñería

24 Aug 2010

Santa Maria housing in Valle de Bravo

Location: México

Date built: 2010

Design: Hierve-Diseñería

Santa Maria housing Santa Maria housing Valle de Bravo Valle de Bravo housing Valle de Bravo housing
pictures : Fernando Cordero

Santa Maria is a housing development located in a historic protected site in the heart of Valle de Bravo, a small colonial city dating from 1530, which is 2 hours away from Mexico City. This historic town has a strong physical context and is found in the outskirts of a man-made lake. Our site is located a hundred yards from the church of Santa Maria Ahuacatlan, a colonial church that dates back to the XVI century.

The project was conceived as a weekend retreat from Mexico City´s busy lifestyle and it includes 9 town houses and some amenities that provide an almost hotel-like experience. The overall footage of the project is 2,433.00 sq. mts. and each of the town houses range between 168.00 and 251.00 sq. mts.

When confronted with such a beautiful and restricted context, we could do nothing but respect it, trying to bring the most out of it by handling the physical aspects of the project with care. Most of this aspects were given to us as regulations by the local authority: the materials involved, the heights, the relationship with other buildings, the general layout, sizes and materials of doors, windows, etc.

Santa Maria housing Valle de Bravo Valle de Bravo housing Valle de Bravo building Valle de Bravo housing
pictures : Fernando Cordero

From the very early stages of design, we tried to make a strong connection with the site by responding to its topography, to the existing vegetation, to the views of the lake, to our neighboring buildings, to the width of the streets, etc. Also we tried to make a more conceptual connection by incorporating the flavor of the rich natural and rural landscape surrounding Valle de Bravo. That´s why we decided to incorporate long trenches all along the project and fill them with natural river stones and vegetation.

We sought out for the spirit and aspirations of the place, trying to bring them to their next stage of evolution, where the new structure respectfully talks about the past, is firmly rooted in the present and gives a sense of direction for the future. Maybe that´s why this project constantly tries to be physically anchored to the ground and at the same time tries to float and fly away in the sky.

Santa Maria housing Valle de Bravo housing Valle de Bravo building Valle de Bravo housing
pictures : Fernando Cordero

The main spatial configuration of the project consists on placing volumes along the two streets that confine the site (which is a local regulation), and by placing the houses in an L shape. By this, we could take advantage of the orientation and the views, and at the same time we were able to generate a pool area (in the sense of a main patio), just like in the traditional houses found in downtown Valle de Bravo.

The general layout of the project includes two main levels:

The lower one includes the entrance, parking space, security guard room, garbage room, a small service cafeteria, concierge room, accounting room, 36 small cellars, laundry, service bathrooms and maintenance rooms.

The upper level includes a self contained corridor (in L shape) that runs all along the houses. The purpose of this corridor is to become a buffer between the 9 houses and the pool area. The pool area works both as an open and a contained space, having a sense of privacy towards the houses, but opening up to the surrounding landscape. This area includes a wooden deck, a jacuzzi, two pools, a space for making fires and a small garden. At the very end of the self contained corridor, there is a small patio that brings light and calm to a yoga studio and a massage room.

Valle de Bravo building Valle de Bravo housing Santa Maria building Santa Maria housing
pictures : Alejandro Villarreal

We were careful so that every house could enjoy privacy and at the same time could open itself up to the beautiful surroundings. All bedrooms have a considerable lower height than the living rooms, that is because it is more efficient to heat such spaces and because we wanted to bring a sense of warmth, protection and coziness from the cold and wet outdoor environment.

The lower floor of each house (except house number 5), includes a small lobby, 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms.The upper floor of each house takes advantage of the height regulation, bringing up an expansive space that offers great views towards the lake and the surroundings. On this floor there is an open kitchen, living room, a private terrace, a small bathroom and a laundry closet.

Santa Maria housing Valle de Bravo housing Valle de Bravo building Valle de Bravo housing
pictures : Fernando Cordero

The starting point for choosing the materials came from a regulation that considers that all the exterior walls should have a white plaster finish. Having such a neutral and beautiful background, we decided to combine it with two more materials: natural stone and solid wood. So all around the project (on the exterior areas and on the interior ones), there is white plaster, red burn plaster (bathrooms), solid wood and natural grey stone. It was really important for us that such materials were completely natural, because we wanted to infuse a natural, non urban experience.

Another important aspect of the project were the windows and doors. From the very early stages of design, we were willing to use solid surfaces of wood on the facades. So for example, the bedroom windows on the first floor, have movable solid panels of wood in the inside. These are used as blinds during the day and as temperature insulators at night. This kind of solution was commonly used long time ago in colonial houses.

All along the design process we tried to imbue the project with a sense of calmness, neutrality, openness, privacy and contact with the surrounding landscape and cityscape. Living in a city like Mexico City makes many people feel the urge to reconnect with nature, history and with themselves. We really hope that with this project we can help some people achieve that goal.

Valle de Bravo building Valle de Bravo housing Santa Maria building Santa Maria housing
pictures : Alejandro Villarreal

Santa Maria housing – Building Information

Design company: Hierve-Diseñería
Project name: Santa Maria
Place: Valle de Bravo, Mexico
Site area: 2,509.64 m2
Built area: 2,269.00 m2
Design phase: 2007-09
Construction phase: 2008-10
Cost: $2,700,000.00 US dlls.
Client: Inmobiliaria Sanmo SA de CV
Contractor: Zimbra
Co-Workers: Partner (Alejandro Villarreal), Project architect (Andrés Casares) and Co-workers(Sugey Ramirez, Gabriela Rosas, Jesús Ramirez, Denisse Novelo and Arturo García Crespo)
Consultants: Structural Engineer (Moncad), Mechanic Engineer (M3 Ingeniería Integral), Landscape Architecture (Ambiente Arquitectos), Lighting Consultant (LLC Iluminación), Interior Design (Isabel Maldonado), Carpentry (Maderaje Arquitectónico)
Photographs: Fernando Cordero and Alejandro Villarreal

Photos of Santa Maria prior to redevelopment:
Santa Maria building Santa Maria ruin Santa Maria housing
pictures from the architect

Santa Maria housing images / information from Hierve-Diseñería

Location: Valle de Bravo, México, North America

Mexican Architecture

Contemporary Mexican Architecture

Mexican Architecture Designs – chronological list

Mexico City Architecture Tours – city walks by e-architect

Mexican Architecture Studios

Mexican Architecture – Selection

La Estancia Chapel
Bunker Arquitectura
Mexican chapel

Mexico City Tower – Design
Mexican Architecture Competition
Mexico City Tower

Da Vinci Apartments Mexico
Mexican Apartments

Mourning House building design by Pascal Arquitectos

Mexican House

Mexican Architect

Museo Tamayo

Torre Cube Mexico

Mexican Hotel Building

Comments / photos for the Santa Maria housing, Valle de Bravo building page welcome

Visit Mexico