Casa el Pinar
By : CF Taller de Arquitectura + MM Arquitectos
GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN – 16th edition
Discipline : Architecture : Grand Winner
Categories : Residential Building / Cottage & Country House : Platinum Winner
Casa El Pinar is a modern home in Valle de Bravo, a short distance away from Mexico City. It stands amongst the trees in harmony with the surrounding landscape. The design required a staggered layout in order to work with the sloped terrain and to save as many trees as possible. The built footprint was kept to a minimum, allowing the forest itself to take center stage.
Rising from the rugged topography, the elongated house utilizes basic materials, including FSC-certified structural pine wood to boast a negative balance of carbon emissions, concrete, steel, and local stone, while leaving finishes exposed, both inside and out. The luxury of the spatial quality of each of the rooms lies in the subtlety of the design and the constant view of the forest.
The main volume features a concrete basement clad in stone that contains the service areas, while the floor above showcases the textured concrete wall as the star of the north façade. A stone staircase, almost hiding in plain site against the basement wall, leads to the main door.
This side of the house remains closed off for weather protection, while the opposite side includes floor-to-ceiling windows that let in the warmth of the sunlight. The constant visual connection with the forest, as well as the quiet it provides, contribute to the tranquil atmosphere of the space.
A sweetgum tree lives within a glass-enclosed central courtyard that physically separates the main public areas while maintaining a visual connection, creating a sense of flowing spaciousness.
Concrete floors juxtapose structural laminated pine beams and plywood covered ceilings adding texture and warmth. Smaller details are kept to neutral colors, including black joints and window frames, as well as black and gray furnishings throughout. The project is simple and honest in essence. Instead of existing separately, the structure and the finishes mimic each other; they are one and the same.
Clerestory windows keep hallways and rooms filled with natural light. A long hallway connects the living room with the home’s private spaces, which includes three bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and closet space.
At the other end of the volume, a concrete bungalow is connected to the main house through the covered terrace, which features a jacuzzi. This bungalow houses the TV room and a guest bedroom. Like the main house, it opens to the south, connecting the interior with the exterior.
The trunks of the pine trees frame the forest views from any point in the house; with its clean lines and sparse materials, this house is an understated retreat that invites reflection and contemplation.
Sustainable forest management has the potential to encourage the reforestation of areas previously deforested for agriculture and livestock, as is already the case in many regions of Mexico, with different plant fibers, such as conifers, tropical timber in the southeast and bamboos in the southwest.