Chapala, Mexico
Project Year
Private Houses
Santiago Name



Chapala is the largest freshwater lake in Mexico; it is located a short 45-minute ride away from Guadalajara, and just 20 minutes from its international airport. Through the past few decades it has become a booming retirement destination for numerous American and Canadian citizens, and it is now home to the largest community of foreign residents in the country.

MR House was designed as a vacation home for a Guadalajara family. The almost 13,000 sq. ft. parcel features a substantial southward-facing slope, which coincidentally creates an extraordinary viewpoint over the lake. The house plan (over 6,000 sq. ft.) presents a study of deep perspectives, openings and transparencies in neutral tones, and it incorporates several materials traditionally unrelated to housing. Taking advantage of the irregular topography of the land, we opted for locating the main access and services area at the highest part. The higher (services) and lower (habitable) volumes are separated by a courtyard reminiscing the traditional Latin-American house plan, and communicated by means of a slender bridge.

The house’s building materials -concrete and stone foundations and retaining walls, mudbrick walls, a Vierendeel trussing structures, and heavy use of large, movable glass panes- were key to avoid columns or other visual impairments on the descending tiered design, thus enabling every social and living space to enjoy unobstructed, unparalleled vistas of the lake, and without hindering the views from the neighbors.

Aware of the ever-present need to reduce energy and water consumption, we followed passive house specifications including solar water heaters for the house and pool, LED-based lighting and state-of-the-art artificial turf in the garden.

Finally, while the house has been designed primarily as a weekend and holiday property, the possibility of permanent use has been factored in at the request of the owners, and enabling such an option would require very limited if any changes to the current program, a testament to its versatile design.

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Shibui House
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Shibui House

Private Houses
Waikato, New Zealand - Build completed in 2019
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