sordo madaleno to integrate luxury spa and resort with northern mexico's desert landscape

sordo madaleno to integrate luxury spa and resort with northern mexico's desert landscape

sordo madaleno arquitectos (SMA) has revealed plans for an ultra-luxury spa and resort to be built as part of a beach-front property in northern mexico. the site, a desert landscape located just north of la paz, the capital of baja california sur, is surrounded by vast biological reserves meaning that is has become an important destination for eco-tourism in recent years.

image by CG verón © sordo madaleno arquitectos (also main image)



the brief from chablé — a chain of luxury wellness resorts — called for 50 units, all with ocean views, as well as a spa and other amenities, including restaurants, an event space, and back-of-house facilities. SMA approached the project — titled ‘chablé sea of cortez’ — by deciding to intervene as respectfully as possible with the existing terrain. ‘the experience of the desert landscape would be our primary mission and would dictate all subsequent steps in masterplan, architecture and interior design,’ says the firm.

image by CG verón © sordo madaleno arquitectos



the response to the brief was to divide the units between the site’s two hills, with the lobby and amenities located in the valley a short distance from the beach. the back-of-house facilities are positioned near the main road, while the ‘inward-looking’ spa is found halfway between the beach and the street. a series of layout studies helped inform this ‘branching’ configuration, where each branch is a central access path that runs parallel to the hill’s slope.

image by SMA © sordo madaleno arquitectos



as this layout meant that there would still be peripheral views of other rooms, (conflicting with the desired sense of privacy and isolation), a gently undulating surface was devised that integrates every room into a single folding gesture. importantly, the form was carefully designed to open towards ocean views and close to shield views into any other rooms. ‘it is architecture as landscape and landscape as architecture,’ say the architects.

image by CG verón © sordo madaleno arquitectos



each unit, sheltered by the undulating roof canopy, has an external terrace — visible from the interior — that includes a deck and pool. ‘we have resolved the lack of verticality in the desert environment by relying on the horizontal to negotiate journeys and experiences, creating a seamless architecture of motion that is ever-changing, like the environment it seeks to emulate,’ explains SMA.


UPDATE: this project has been shortlisted in the ‘future projects – leisure led development’ category at the 2019 world architecture festival.



project info:


architectural project: sordo madaleno arquitectos
president: javier sordo madaleno bringas
architecture leaders: javier sordo madaleno de haro, fernando sordo madaleno de haro
project leaders: boris pena, adrián aguilar hernández
program: hotel
construction area: 16,000 sqm
terrain area: 64,912 sqm
design date: 2018
status: in design
location: la paz, baja california sur, mexico


architectural team —
project manager: jaime sol, alonso hernández díaz
design team: eduardo francisco longino, ninfa itzel colin, irene serrato, juan antonio ruiz
engineering coordination: héctor ruiz
media & marketing: rosalba rojas, daniela cruz, jimena orvañanos, vanessa gutiérrez
interior design: paulina morán
interior director: paulina morán
interior manager: carolina alcocer


structural engineering: ALBA proyecto estructural
façade engineering: GRALTE
air conditioning engineering: GRALTE
systems & special engineering: GRALTE
hydrosanitary engineering: GRALTE
lighting consultant: GRALTE
audio & video consultant: GRALTE
security consultant: GRALTE
renderings: CG verón, SMA
awards: 2019 WAF finalist in future project: leisure led development category; 2019 WAN awards silver medal in future projects: commercial category

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,534 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample