mexico-based studio santos bolívar presents a reimagination of the hotel typology, entitled ‘santulan.’ meaning ‘balance’ in hindi, the concept of santulan initially drove the project’s development. the space introduces both a tourist destination as well as a beacon to foster a culture of respect for the site’s natural ecosystems. unlike traditional hotel organization which houses its services and living spaces within the same volume, santulan divides each program between five independent structures. this cluster of rammed earth units is interconnected by a network of walkways which interact directly with the geographic conditions, offering visitors a diversity of architectural experience.

santos bolivar santulan
all images by jose maria gonzalez villavicencio



together with an investigation of the natural qualities of the site, santos bolívar architects generated the network of structures and walkings paths in plan through an analysis of the ‘om’ mantra symbol. the team incorporated this device as a continuation of the conceptual balance between ‘architecture, nature, mind and spirit.
’ among the five buildings distributed across the site, a V-shaped volume serves as the main access and starting point to the complex and its route. this building comprises a communal living, dining, and kitchen space which together encourage interaction between guests. a small gallery space in this building promotes the work of local artists and creators.

santos bolivar santulan



a rectangular volume opening outward to the west houses a yoga studio, promoting physical and mental connection. the main building is expressed as a horizontal volume which visually blends with the surrounding landscape. this volume houses eight private bedrooms, each with a bathroom, terrace, and garden. the buildings offers guests a shared occupiable green roof with wooden terraces, enhancing the experience of the sunsets and the starry nights of the guadalupe valley.
 the main route ends in a semi-subterranean walkway which leads to a wooden geodesic dome programmed as a space for meditation. with respect for its context, the complex is constructed with the use of natural materials and systems including rammed earth blocks, a wetland greywater reuse system, a tower which captures water vapor from fog, green roofs with local, low maintenance plant life.

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project info:


project title: santulan (hotel) bed and breakfast

architecture: santos bolívar

location: valle de guadalupe ensenada baja california, méxico

lead architect: josé antonio de los santos bolívar

design team: arq. roberto amaya alvarado, arq. tayde chan ojeda, arq. armando gallardo, arq. armando quevedo jordán , arq. carlos fernández robles, arq. diana orozco milanez , a.p roxana alvarado ávila, TADO, arq. frida chametz

built area: 1000 square meters

project year: 2019

photography: jose maria gonzalez villavicencio