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  • Daniela Jiménez

Cal House in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

When people imagine a beach house, most of us will imagine white walls, open spaces and warm climates that mix well with the fresh air that can be enjoyed under the shadows cast by palm trees. In this case, Cal House, designed by the architect Alfonso Quiñones from BAAQ is nothing less than what we could ever dream. This house located a few minutes away from Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca in Mexico is part of a complex of houses that have outstanding views of the ocean or are placed just by the sea.

This project was originally contemplating 8 houses in which 6 would be by the sea and would form the first row of houses, the last two would be placed in a second row. The idea worked on paper and the need for all the houses to be the same made it even more of a cohesive project, the problem arose once the construction for the two houses that would be in the second row started. They hadn't considered that the houses in the first row would block the view for the other two, the construction was paused while the developers could figure out what they should do.

When the developers reached out to Alfonso Quiñones, they were searching for someone who could conquer the challenge and design something completely unique and different that at the same time, would take advantage of the foundations that had already been laid down for the original two houses. They wanted Quiñones to design a house that would know how to use the views. The architect created a strategy in which he placed the bedrooms and other private rooms in the first floor, the social area was placed in a second floor ingeniously using the air current that goes through the house, hence avoiding the use of artificial cooling systems throughout the property.

To achieve this, the architect designed gardens around the bedrooms in order to cool the surrounding floor and maintain a permanent shade over the tiles used for the roof. He placed 5 meter walls in strategic points around the property to take advantage of the wind coming from the sea, that wind goes through a wooden grill and keeps the room at a cool temperature. The wall does more than concentrating wind in specific points around the house, it also provides the rooms with privacy since it blocks out the view from the common areas and elevates the view of the sea.

On the second floor the architect built the only closed element of the entire house, a studio in a cubed shape that is created from palm tree bone in order to keep the sustainable and eco-friendly design used throughout the house.

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