Resembling interlacing structures in a tropical paradise near Tulum, Casa San Juan appears as an experimental design solution with formal similarities to the vernacular architecture of the region: The Mayan House. Studying the spatial layout of this traditional Mayan housing typology provided the formal bases for the modules that make up this high-end residential project. Height, large spaces for air to enter, the distribution of floor areas and the division between public and private spaces are the guiding concepts.
The formal solution, which is also grounded in principles of sustainability, presents a contemporary take on the vernacular architecture, converting it into a “shell” that employs the traditional local materials. The Mayan House is sliced into two and the two sections are rotated by 90 degrees to create a greater angle of openness to the surroundings, embracing with its organic silhouette the space that is generated between the vegetation and the architecture. This shell, which is permeable on all sides, has a very light footprint with no more than 10% of the surface area in contact with the ground.
Using a number of slender steel supports, it is positioned on a platform floating above the ground, a solution that seeks to benefit the natural surroundings. The resulting volumetry avoids the need for internal columns, making wall and roof a single construction element. These are curved wooden stretchers that form an organic overlay and serve to create the principal module.