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A vacation house between mountains and ocean in Puerto Escondido

Mexican studio anonimous designs a holiday house deeply imbued with references to local architecture and filled with love for its territory.

“You have to sleep with your eyes open, you have to dream with your have to dream out loud, you have to sing until the song takes roots, trunks, branches, birds, stars...”. In this way Octavio Paz, Mexican poet and Nobel Prize winner, sang about love for life and nature with the enthusiasm of someone who turns dreams into a concrete action that is strongly anchored to the earth. Words that seem to refer indirectly to Casa Cova, a piece of architecture by anonimous studio, which embodies a true poem nourished by earth and water.

The building, located in Puerto Escondido, is situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Oaxaca mountain range, just 70 m from the coast, and houses a vacation home for two families. The functional needs of independence of the family units led to building two distinct complexes that house the private rooms and that are connected by a central body including the main entrances and the common recreational areas.

Anonimous. Casa Cova, Puerto Eescondido, Mexico, 2019. Photo Rafael Gamo, courtesy studio anonimous
Anonimous. Casa Cova, Puerto Eescondido, Mexico, 2019. Photo Rafael Gamo, courtesy studio anonimous

The central community space has high ceilings and is surmounted by an enormous “palapa”, a Mayan term that means “pulpy leaf” and that traditionally indicates a dwelling without walls, with a thatched roof. The choice of this architectural element, widely used in Mexico, stems from the need to create a climatically controlled environment with respect to the high local temperatures, thanks to the use of dried palm leaves that cool the air and to the construction system that promotes the exit of heat through the upper part of the structure. The perforated concrete walls, then, further promote natural ventilation and also create intense chiaroscuro effects throughout the day.

The two side wings, bordered by concrete walls, house three rooms – a master suite and two bedrooms with private bathrooms – connected by a series of open courtyards that facilitate natural cross-ventilation and from which there are views towards the ocean, the main volume and the central pool that dialogues with the sea a few meters away.

Anonimous. Casa Cova, Puerto Eescondido, Mexico, 2019. Photo Rafael Gamo, courtesy studio anonimous
Anonimous. Casa Cova, Puerto Eescondido, Mexico, 2019. Photo Rafael Gamo, courtesy studio anonimous

The choice of natural building materials intends to mark a strong link with local traditions with particular attention to sustainability, minimum environmental impact and reduced maintenance: so, exposed concrete – a material resistant to the heat and salinity of the place – was used for walls and finishes and Parota wood for carpentry. The spontaneous vegetation in the courtyard areas and in the green spaces contributes to the harmonious insertion of the building in the context and facilitate the microclimatic well-being.

An architecture that, thanks to an empathic interpretation of the genius loci, seems to have always been in that context and that, in the volumes, in the high ceilings and in the maze of paths and patios, seems to evoke with a contemporary language the mighty archaeological ruins of Mitla, not far away. 

Project :
Casa Cova
Studio :
Alfonso Jimenez, Bárbara Trujillo
Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Messico
Program :
Site area:
Built area :
In collaboration with:
: Mónica Ochoa, Francisco Martínez, Ana Cristina Fernández, Lucrecia Brero, Joaquín Ríos & María Luisa Guzmán
Jaun Carlos Stefanoni

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