The Pacific coast of Mexico boosts spectacular landscape and beaches that stretch for miles. ‘Casa Cosmos’, designed by S-AR, celebrates the landscape with its sliding walls and tries to blur the boundary between inside and outside.
Designed for a small family, the house is located on the Oaxaca coast in the Mexican southern coast.
It is a perfect squared-floor plan that mainly consists of three elements. The inner core is composed of all the living quarters and utilities, sheltered by the roof. It is described by the architects as ‘the hard nucleus’, which shelters habitable space including bedroom, kitchen, dining room, living and bathroom, each occupying a quadrant. This simple layout is crucial in creating efficient layout and robust structure creating.
Outside this inner core lies an external grid made of concrete beam and columns, creating a concrete frame, defining the structure of the house. This external portal helps extend the house to the outer surroundings and includes a small pond, patio and garden. The portal gives the house a brutal finish, creating outdoor spaces and extending every room of the house towards the landscape.
The architects describe the roof as the third element in the composition of the house. The terrace acts as a lookout to appreciate the landscape of Oaxacan coast and another meeting point for the family. The terrace consists of water mirror for admiring the stars, constellations and the cosmos that fills the sky in this part of Mexico, thanks to Casa Cosmos’s remote location, hence deriving its name.
The studio explains, “The constructive system is based on a grid of columns and beams of 20cm x 20cm placed to form interior spaces of 4.10m x 4.80m and exterior ones of 2.60m x 2.60m, 2.60m x 4.10m and 2.60m x 4.80 m.” They continue, “The result is a house of 78.7m2 interior and 100 m2 total counting the area covered by the exterior structure of the house.”
The façade of the house is made up of sliding wooden doors, which respond to climate and landscape. The mechanical wooden lattice provides the house with different levels of privacy and blurs the boundary between outside and inside. The sliding exterior door helps fill the house with plenty of natural light and helps frame the Nature outside.
The material palette of the house is composed of two primary materials. Concrete has been chosen as a response to the location. The location being a seismic zone, the concrete structure provides rigidity, durability and low maintenance to the house. Concrete is readily used in this part of the country, due to its low maintenance against the saline air present on the coast and makes it an ideal construction material.
The studio added, “One of the main design ideas of the house is the use of the structure in a reticular form that could respond to its situation within a seismic area. This way it would answer after telluric movements coming from any direction.”
Wood has also been extensively used in the interior of the house, sourced from the local endemic tree ‘macuil’, that extended the interiors to its immediate surroundings, not only through the views, but also through temperature, sound and wind.
Casa Cosmos is grounded in its locality and built by local operators. Local artesans were brought in to create woodwork for the house, who developed the mechanical opening and movement of the wooden doors and shutters. Through the house, the studio wanted to contribute to the growth of the local craftsmen and local architecture. The house, true to its name, shines brightly surrounded by Nature, sitting below the cosmos.
Name: casa cosmos
Location: Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico
Architect in charge: César Guerrero, Ana Cecilia Garza
Collaborators: María Sevilla, Carlos Morales, Luis Fernando de la Garza
Construction area: 100 sqm
Builder / General contractor: José Ramírez
Structural engineer: CM Ingeniería
Civl engineer: Fermín Pérez
Carpentry: Ubaldo Ríos
Blacksmith: Mario Ramírez
Interior design: S-AR, Aránzazu de Ariño, Claudio Sodi
Landscape design: S-AR, Aránzazu de Ariño,Claudio Sodi
Supervision: Patricio Sodi, Claudio Sodi, Aránzazu de Ariño, S-AR
S-AR is an architectural design studio based in Mexico (Monterrey and Mexico City) led by Cesar Guerrero and Ana Cecilia Garza.
S-AR´s work has been awarded the Emerging Voices Award by The Architectural League of New York (New York, U.S.A., 2016), the Design Vanguard Award by Architectural Record for emerging architects (New York, U.S.A., 2013), the Dwell Design Award by Dwell Magazine for the Best Dwelling (San Francisco, U.S.A., 2020), the Blueprint Award by Blueprint Magazine for the Best Small Project (London, U.K., 2020), the 1st. Place in the XXI Cemex Building National Award 2012 (Mexico, 2012) and the 1st. Place in National Competition “Bicentennial Elementary School” (Mexico, 2008). They received the Young Artists Grant “Jovenes Creadores” CONACULTA – FONCA (Arts and Culture Mexican Council) in the discipline of Architectural Design (Mexico, 2009) and they were part of the exhibition Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling at MoMA – Museum of Modern Art (New York, U.S.A., 2007). The studio received an Award of Merit in the 2020 AZ Awards (Toronto, Canada, 2020), an Honorable Mention in the International Competition “Possible Cities” organized by ARPAFIL (Guadalajara, Mexico, 2009) and they were finalist for the Museo Experimental el Eco Pavilion in Mexico City (Mexico, 2014). S-AR has been nominated for the 2014 Ibero-American Architecture Biennial Award (Rosario, Argentina, 2014) and for the 2019 Ibero-American Architecture Biennial Award (Asuncion, Paraguay, 2019), selected -Emerging Designer- in the Present for the Arts in Mexico by La Tempestad Magazine of Arts (Mexico, 2014), selected to represent Mexico in the BAL – Latin-American Biennial of Architecture (Mexico – Spain – LATAM, 2015), selected to be part of Mexico´s Pavilion in the 15 and 16 Mostra Internazionale di Architettura di Venezia – 15th and 16th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale (Mexico – Italy, 2016 / 2018) and selected to participate in the XX Chilean Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism (Valparaiso, Chile, 2017) and the BIA-AR – Argentinean Architecture International Biennial (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2016).
S-AR´s work has been part of the exhibitions YALA – Young Architects in Latin America – La nouvelle architecture en Amérique Latine at the arc en rêve centre d´architecture (Bordeaux, France, 2018) and the MARQ – Architecture and Design Museum (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2019), Häuser für alle at the IFA – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (Stuttgart, Germany, 2019), Diseñando México – Architettura: Necessità e Libertà at the International Architecture Festival Mantovarchitettura – Politecnico di Milano (Mantova, Italy, 2019), among others. Also S-AR´s work has been part of the exhibition series of Monoambiente, Gallery of Design and Architecture (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and of the exhibitions program of LIGA, Space for Architecture, Mexico City (Mexico City).
Some S-AR´s lectures at several forums and universities include the Navarra University (Pamplona, Spain), the ETSAB – UPC (Barcelona, Spain), The Architectural League of New York (New York, U.S.A.), the GSAPP – Columbia University (New York, U.S.A.) the University of Houston (Houston, U.S.A.), MONTE 153C (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and the Atelier Piloto´s lecture series (Brasilia, Brazil).