The Izar Houses, a pair of two-story volumes overlooking the valle de bravo lake

 

Located on steep forested plots overlooking Mexico’s Valle De Bravo lake, the Izar Houses by Taller ADG and Micaela de Bernardi stand as a pair of two-story volumes seemingly emerging from their lush surroundings. Green roofing, local stone, and a facade lattice made out of specially-treated wooden slats contribute to the houses’ full integration into the landscape, with bodies of water and vegetation welcoming owners at the main entrance, evoking continuity with the natural environment. 

nestled atop steep hills, these twin houses in mexico weave into their forested context
Images © Rafael Gamo, Onnis Luque

 

 

Taller ADG (see more here) collaborated with Bernardi to compose the layout of both Izar Houses. The private areas sit on the lower floor, spread over 600 sqm, while the more public, social areas are held on the upper level spanning 400 sqm. A skylight made out of locally-sourced stone and vegetation connects both stories. Users gain access to these spaces through a lobby that distributes into the main living room, service kitchen, and staircase leading to the lower floors. 

 

The upper story’s main living room is generous in size, featuring a black steel fireplace that contrasts with the oak-tiled floors, walls, and ceilings. Next to it is a dining room/kitchen for special events and a covered terrace hosting extra living and dining rooms with a support bar and grill. Completing the layout is an open terrace with a swimming pool, a service area with a kitchen, and a storage room. Each of these spaces frames scenic views of the nearby woods and lake.

nestled atop steep hills, these twin houses in mexico weave into their forested context

 

 

At the lower level, owners first reach a semi-social space comprising a lobby, family room, and play area, followed by a hallway that leads to the bedrooms and a gym. The main bedroom holds a bathroom, dressing room, and private studio. The architects included additional rooms for guests; these contain a loft, several bathrooms, and dressing rooms. Finally, the northern section of the project is reserved for a social area common to and wholly independent of the twin houses. Surrounded by the forest, this space accommodates swimming pools, a fire pit, a spa, grills, pizza ovens, gyms, and dressing rooms.

izar houses 7

 

 

harmonizing with the surrounding mexican forestscape 

 

According to Taller ADG, one of the project’s greatest challenges was responding to every need listed in the client’s architectural program while dealing with a steepy, hilly site. This, in turn, brought along two additional difficulties. The first one focused on introducing good lighting to every space, which the architects resolved by creating skylights that crossed both floors, taking full advantage of natural light and attaining excellent energy efficiency, surpassing the ideal goal of 150 lux per day.

The second challenge concerned the houses’ proper integration into their surroundings, a process achieved by adopting a functional design, implementing roof gardens, using locally-sourced stone for materials and finishes, and cladding the facade lattice with specially-treated wooden slats. Combined, these interventions ensure that the complex sits in perfect harmony with its forested context.

izar houses 2

 

 

‘We took advantage of the land conditions (with all its nooks and crannies) by creating wetlands and zones for forest recreation, promoting local species, and strengthening the ecosystem, which leads to healthier interspecies competition and coexistence. This is true for all life forms in the area, from fungi to the largest trees. Furthermore, we implemented every area the client desired in a very subtle, non-invasive manner, and every space we designed offers a view of the Valle de Bravo lake. As a result, biological corridors were generated and paths suited for play, an edible forest, bodies of water, and children’s playgrounds,’ shares Taller ADG. 

izar houses 3

 

 

Construction wise, the Izar Houses are built using poured concrete footings, concrete retaining walls, and intermediate brick walls, confined with chains and steel-reinforced joints on the first floor. The upper floor is made of wooden, treated pine frames, fixed onto structural plates and anchoring screws, completely covered in wood and Canadian wood shingles, duly protected, and acoustically sealed. The roofing, finally, is topped with pinewood, covered with engineered wood.

nestled atop steep hills, these twin houses in mexico weave into their forested context

izar houses 9

nestled atop steep hills, these twin houses in mexico weave into their forested context

 

 

 

 

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nestled atop steep hills, these twin houses in mexico weave into their forested context
 
nestled atop steep hills, these twin houses in mexico weave into their forested context
 
nestled atop steep hills, these twin houses in mexico weave into their forested context
 
nestled atop steep hills, these twin houses in mexico weave into their forested context
 
nestled atop steep hills, these twin houses in mexico weave into their forested context
 
nestled atop steep hills, these twin houses in mexico weave into their forested context
 

project info:

 

Name: Izar Houses

Location: Valle De Bravo, Mexico 

Completion year: 2019

Built area: 1,105 sqm / house 
Architecture: Taller ADG 

Furniture + interiors: Micaela de Bernardi 
Photography: Rafael GamoOnnis Luque 

 

 

 

designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. See more project submissions from our readers here.

 

Edited by: Lea Zeitoun | designboom