TOC House – Elías Rizo Arquitectos

Residential architectural design is often graded as either successful or unsuccessful based on the designs intent to acknowledge, accept and appreciate the surrounding within which it sits. This is by no means a golden rule for architecture, for there are examples of work which by no means ‘fit’ within their environment but are still inherently successful, interesting and fascinating designs. However, most of the time, there must be a synergy between the new and old, the built and the natural.

This unique vacation house is located near Tapalpa (Mexico) in a secluded forested area. This house is the perfect example of creating that relationship between the built and the natural. The design generates a fluent dialogue with the surrounding forest through two primary spaces. The first is the elevated activity zones: the entrance, dining room, kitchen, living room and terrace. The second is the private areas, bedrooms connected by window lined hallways that frame the surrounding wilderness like constantly evolving paintings.

The client was determined to redefine the concept of a typical country holiday house by fusing modern design elements with traditional materials. Hardwood timbers of varying sizes frequent the buildings interiors, while the exterior is dominated by intricate stack stone detailing. This house epitomises the often sought after element of indoor/outdoor living with almost every room in the house having an open air aesthetic to it which blurs that line between inside and out.

Mexico’s climate mimics Australia’s in many ways and it’s houses like this that should set a precedent for ecologically sustainable design on our shores. Rigorous thinking combined with a complete understanding of context is needed to produce designs like this which are not only beautiful, but sensitive and timeless.


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