Concrete cutouts surprise and delight in a modern Mexican hotel
The views are so serene and beautiful on La Punta Zicatela, a stretch of coast in Oaxaca, Mexico, that you might be tempted to frame them at every possible opportunity. That’s exactly what Ludwig Godefroy Architecture has done with his spectacular Casa TO, a small boutique hotel made up of dramatic concrete shapes and cutouts. Designed for surfers, the hotel aims to pay homage to the landscape and its cultural history in bold new architectural terms. The design feels distinctly Mexican, but with a modern, fresh twist and features that flout the common perception of concrete as cold and unwelcoming.
Casa TO offers nine spacious suites that act as private sanctuaries as opposed to public open spaces. A covered infinity pool and terraced solarium form the heart of the hotel, offering tiered seating areas for guests to bask in the sun and then stroll through the water to cool off. Huge round portals in the massive concrete walls create interesting geometries and frame various views of the interiors and exteriors: the swimming pool glistening in the sun, the vines crawling over the textured wall, the inviting seating areas and the lush greenery outside. outside.
“The project has been described under the imprint of simplicity and conceptual elegance, where tradition and avant-garde are merged in an unprecedented structure embraced by the tranquility of nature”, explain the architects. “Its name, Casa TO, stems from the idea of serene contemplation in a defined space, like the reinterpretation of a temple in Oaxaca, which generates a radical sensory experience just by entering it. The structure evokes the latticework pattern of two historical aqueducts of timeless beauty, the Basilica Cistern – Yerebatan Sarayi – in Istanbul, dating from the 6th century, and the Hornsey Wood Reservoir in London’s Finsbury Park, built in the 19th century.
The team adds that “Casa TO’s natural surroundings defined its interior design, which was inspired by the natural hue of a blue palm tree in Madagascar — Bismarckia nobilis — located on the original land. The color palette is composed of the typical tones of concrete and stainless steel, complemented by shades of turquoise, present in the ironwork, the lamps of Natural Urbano Studio and some decorative details; in addition to yellow, blue and green accents, which contrast in glassware and textile elements made by Vivenda, Alfredo Orozco’s experimental textile workshop and Taller Ocho rugs.
The influence of Oaxacan temples is evident in the hotel’s vaulted ceilings and steps, as is that of traditional Mexican courtyard houses, which are alluded to in the sun deck and tropical greenery dotted throughout the hotel. Furniture built by expert carpenters from Puebla, Guadalajara and Oaxaca sits alongside bamboo pieces by Tiago Solís Van Beuren. The bedrooms are open to the fresh air, with the beds tucked into little sheltered nooks and small private terraces that act as giant skylights.
Casa TO is perhaps Ludwig Godefroy Architecture’s most dramatic and innovative project, an elevation of the firm’s signature aesthetic of clean concrete forms accented by warm natural materials. Check out their previous project, Casa Zicatela, a home that looks like a bunker from the outside but hides luxurious private spaces and reflecting pools behind its solid walls.
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