Completed by a company called Taller Estilo Arquitectura, the Tree House is a remarkable residential project that can be found in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. The project involved the renovation and expansion of the original abode so that it may be able to ensure suitable living conditions for its new owners.
However, the architects wanted to make sure that the new building would not damage the local environment in any way, and so they incorporated nature in its design. The new building was placed to the east of the site between a very old Zapote tree and the already present older building. This placement allowed the architects to create 2 separate exterior areas that involve a central courtyard as well as a wide backyard surrounded by nature.
The home itself allows the residents to enjoy the great feeling of living outside while still being able to make full use of interior amenities and comforts. The master bedroom, which also happens to be the most impressive accommodation option, can be found on the upper floor, and it appears to be floating on the branches of the large Zapote tree.
From the Taller Estilo Arquitectura:
Living in the environment. From the first visit to the site where the Tree House is located, three premises for the project were evident, “the permanence of an ancient Zapote tree, the need for more openness in the space, and to cause the least impact on the natural and built environments.”
The existing structure that would have solved the previous requirements, would not cover the needs of the new inhabitants without making drastic changes.
The design led us to create a home that more than living with the environment, LIVES IN THE ENVIRONMENT. It not only respects the natural and built contexts but makes them an essential part of its character.
The space was optimized reusing the entire existing structure, rearranging the areas and creating apertures capable of incorporating natural ventilation and lighting favorable for each area of the house, despite its unfavorable orientation.
The new building was added on the east side, between the Zapote tree and the existing building, thus defining two exterior areas, a cozy and intimate central courtyard that allows public areas to open to the north and east, and a wide backyard surrounded by the greenery of the immediate context, where the tree is the protagonist along with the circular pool, playing with the curved shapes of the building that enable us to keep the tree.
Both green areas allow any room of the house to have contact with the outside, creating the feeling of living outside but with all the advantages and comfort of the interior. A new upper floor houses the master bedroom, which literally seems to float on the branches of the zapote.
The Tree House in full, due to sliding glass walls, can be interpreted as a terrace where the boundaries between interior and exterior become blurred or practically nonexistent, a quality that is valid for both social and private areas.
Another important element was to incorporate comprehensive design furniture in different areas, whether in closets, kitchen, bathrooms, allowing the spaces to be fully optimized.
All exterior walls and pool are finished with polished white cement prepared with “chucum” water, a traditional technique used in the area that creates an impermeable surface with greater durability without paint, while inside we respect the traditional materials, which in some cases were reinterpreted with a more contemporary aesthetic. Such is the case of the mosaic cement floors. The existing ones were reused in the first corridor, and on the rest of the ground floor they were changed by the same kind of flooring but with a solid color. Upstairs we used wood floors (bamboo inside and Dzalam outside) to reinforce the idea of the Tree House.
The result is a renovation that optimized the entire existing structure, respected its environment making it part of the design itself, and changed the image of a worn house for one that is totally contemporary and respectful of its past.