Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico
Architect on Site: Eugenio Eraña. Collaborators: Tomas Clara, Manuel Tojal. Structural Engineer: Ricardo Camacho Photos: Diego Berruecos, Sandra Pereznieto
Tepoztlan is a small town nestled between rocky cliffs located to the South of Mexico City - 50 kilometers away from the vibrant metropolis. With its well preserved historic center and wild countryside, Tepoztlán is a town of legends and deep cultural roots that has been appreciated by writers, poets, artists and musicians over many decades, turning it into their hometown or weekend retreat. Located in this incredible context and surrounded by an astonishing landscape, the Tepoztlán Lounge is the first building completed of a larger project that includes a series of bungalows of different sizes and designs, which can be rented by years, months or days. The lounge is set to be a central communal space for leisure in nature, and is located in the perimeter of a stunning lawn.
The harmony of the project is dependent on the ability to maintain the carefully manicured lawn while celebrating the character of the wild nature surrounding this central space. The project is a balance between interior and exterior, a construction of an in-between condition, an inhabitable threshold, which becomes the main space of the project; the limits between the open and the contained space merge to produce a single architectural entity.
The design establishes three separate living quarters designed in accordance to the three intended uses of the space. Each is a set space defined by its use, but also by a very clear and simple architectural container. The first holds an open bar with a kitchenette, together with restrooms and dressing rooms; the second is a play area for children that can also be used as a reading room when temperatures drop at night; and finally the largest container is the living area - an enclosed, tempered and comfortable space for conversation, TV, etc. It is the desire to give continuity between these three separate areas which creates meaning within the project - a continuous space in full contact with the nature but protected from its inclemency is set up not only to expand the enclosed uses, but also to allow new activities to arise.
It is through the definition of this central space, through the definition of its shape, that the contiguous courtyards are defined. These are as essential to the project as the built architecture, and allow it to be perceived as a whole, single spatial experience. While the three built containers give continuity to the central space by means of their use and space, the adjacent patios qualify it, while providing diversity and idiosyncrasy to open space. The design of the swimming pool is part of this same intervention, and responds to the desire to characterize the spaces. Its formalization resonates with the layout of the lounge, while incorporating by its nature the possibility of a multiplicity of ways of using water.
The building acts as a plinth valuing the views of the mountains. It must be respectful to the existing context, and understands that the natural habitat is the real protagonist. Two impressive trees that are in place are incorporated within the layout of the lounge, as if they were part of the program itself. The Tepoztlán Lounge is constructed in concrete not just because it is an inexpensive and practical material in Mexico and to minimize its maintenance, but also to expose its structural simplicity and neutrality towards the astonishing nature.