This Home in the Forest is Dark and Brooding Outside, Bright and Calm Inside

Just on the southern edge of Mexico City is the forest of Tlalpuente. It’s a secluded area that feels worlds away from the hectic and crowded city streets. And that’s just where you’ll find Tlalpuente House — a calming sanctuary hidden in the trees.

The work of architectural firm Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados (PPAA), Tlalpuente House was designed to be ab immersive experience, offering 360-degree views of the surrounding forest. Despite the close proximity to the city, there are no neighbors visible, making it feel like a private oasis. 

Tlalpuente House
Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados

Tlalpuente House is dark and brooding with an exterior finished in matte black, hiding the home among the dark green of the surrounding trees. The inside is a sharp contrast to the outside, offering a bright and calm space with plenty of windows framing views of the forest.

In designing the home, the team at PPAA wanted to explore the relationship between a home and its environment. While the dark exterior allows the home to blend in, careful consideration was paid to how other natural elements would come into play. Things like sunlight, wind, textures, and even the slope of the ground guided much of the design of the home.

Tlalpuente House
Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados

Starting with a basic box shape, PPAA created cutouts at the corners of the first floor, while the second-floor walls cantilever out, completing the box shape and creating a striking architectural element. It’s a playful contrast between positive and negative space. 

The spaces created by these cutouts became outdoor patios as well as the entry to the home. Walls of sliding glass turn the patios into indoor/outdoor rooms, allow natural light to filter into the center of the home, and create cooling cross breezes. 

Tlalpuente House
Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados

Skylights were carefully placed in the second-floor corridor which lets in even more light, keeping the space bright and welcoming.

Tlalpuente House
Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados

The floor plan was laid out in a grid pattern with each room occupying a different square in the grid. PPAA played with ceiling heights to help further define the spaces while also creating a sense of intimacy in certain areas. There is a central square in the grid plan that anchors the public spaces on the first floor. Off of this space is the kitchen, dining room, family room, and a guest suite. These spaces all have low ceilings while the center square has a double-height ceiling that looks up to a second-floor mezzanine and the skylight above. 

The design of the home is a contemporary take on classic Mexican style. Plaster walls are bright white and contrast against the exposed light wood ceiling beams and wood plank floors. It has elements of traditional adobe homes but with a fresh, minimalist spin. Windows are bordered in a darker wood, drawing your eye to them and turning the views of the forest into framed works of art. 

Tlalpuente House
Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados

The design of Tlalpuente House is a sharp contrast from the other homes in the area — many of which are colonial-style mansions. But with no neighbors in sight, this is one home that can do its own thing and stand out for it.

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