Finalized in 2019 by S-AR Architects, the Cosmos House stands as a testament to innovative residential design. Situated near the tranquil Puerto Escondido, along the picturesque Oaxacan Pacific coastline of Mexico, this compact dwelling embodies a masterful fusion of architecture and nature.
Cosmos House Technical Information
- Architects1-10: S-AR
- Location: Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico
- Topics: Mexican Houses, Beach Houses, Grid Architecture
- Client: Private
- Area: 100 m2
- Project Year: 2018 – 2019
- Photographs: © Camila Cossío, Claudio Sodi
The house is a process of transformation related to the site, its vegetation, seasons, constellations, and surrounding nature.
– S-AR Architects
Cosmos House Photographs
Cosmos House: Architecture & Nature in Mexico’s Pacific Coastline
Three key components shape the Cosmos House. Firstly, a central core or ‘hard nucleus’ of brutalist concrete slabs and columns contains the dwelling’s main spaces – a bedroom, kitchen-dining area, living room, and bathroom. Each area is neatly allocated to a quadrant of a nearly square floor plan.
The second aspect is an external grid of smooth-finished concrete beams and columns seamlessly linked to the central nucleus. This feature extends the home’s living area into the outdoors, giving rise to patios, terraces, peripheral walkways, and even a pond. The design enhances the living experience by altering the perceived dimensions of the house.
Finally, the roof, acting as a vantage point for the surrounding landscape, incorporates a mirrored water feature, enabling star-gazing and celestial contemplation.
The house establishes a profound connection with the landscape through a mechanical wooden lattice, offering varying levels of privacy when inhabited and secure protection when vacant. Its foundation utilizes four load-bearing elements that elevate the house, allowing the terrain underneath to remain untouched, thus enabling the free movement of water, air, local flora, and fauna. The exterior concrete grid subtly integrates existing vegetation, blurring the lines between architecture and landscape, with the fusion varying through the seasons and according to usage by the occupants.
The structural system employs a 20cm x 20cm grid of columns and beams to create interior spaces of 4.10m x 4.80m and exterior dimensions of 2.60m x 2.60m, 2.60m x 4.10m, and 2.60m x 4.80 m. The house measures 78.7m2 internally, with the external structure bringing the total area to 100 m2.
The design is underpinned by a reticular structural format, ensuring resilience in this seismic-prone region. Material choices add to this rigidity while ensuring durability and low maintenance. The use of wood imbues the home with a warm, organic ambiance that will evolve over time, reflecting the dynamic nature of the site, its vegetation, seasons, and the wider environment.
Two main local materials make up the structure. Concrete, commonly employed in Mexican architecture, provides structural stability in a seismic region while ensuring longevity, affordability, and low maintenance. Local Macuil wood lends flexibility to the enclosures and humanizes the scale, deepening the dwelling’s engagement with the surrounding environment, not just visually but also through temperature, sound, and wind interactions.
The house employs a sustainable approach to water management. All water used in the house is filtered through a cistern filled with sand and stones, and the use of natural soaps and shampoos is encouraged to minimize pollution. Rainwater is harvested from the roof via a waterfall feature, stored, and later used to maintain the house’s external gardens.
Given its remote location, the project prioritized local resources, both material and human. The construction crew comprised local workers who, through ongoing practical training, mastered diverse concrete applications for structures, walls, and finishes. Local artisans crafted the woodwork, including the mechanically operated wooden doors and shutters. This collaborative approach not only enriched the architectural outcome but also contributed to local skill development. The result is a testament to the synergistic relationship between local labor and architectural vision.
Cosmos House Plans
S-AR is an architectural practice known for its thoughtful approach to design, where forms and figures are secondary to the philosophical and material messages conveyed by their works. The firm’s design process emphasizes exploration, observation, and critical reflection on the project’s conditions. S-AR strongly believes that architecture must be clear in its motivations and responsible for its origin. The team continually seeks to enhance the human experience and respond to social, economic, and environmental issues through their work.
Notes & Additional Credits
- Architects in charge: César Guerrero, Ana Cecilia Garza
- Collaborators: María Sevilla, Carlos Morales, Luis Fernando De la Garza
- Builder / General Contractor: José Ramírez
- Structural Engineer: CM Ingeniería
- Civil 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.