Nestled on a steep slope with boundaries irregular in its geometry, MZ House, designed by CHK Arquitectura, is situated in Valle de Bravo Lake in Mexico. Bordered by a brook of clear water and by the lake itself, at one very narrow end there is a bridge that provides the only access to the site; the remaining sides are limited by the vegetation of neighboring constructions and by thick forest.
Though blessed with beautiful views to the lake and to the brook, the site does not offer up these sights at first glance; they can only be seen from different levels of the terrain and through the surrounding forest. It is therefore necessary to locate the different functions of the program in the more or less privileged zones, according to their importance.
The program is designed to provide the best views for the public spaces in a horizontal arrangement, and for the private quarters in a vertical disposition. The plastic expression of these volumes, how they are built, and the circulation among them are the theme through which the project expresses itself.
The cuts and stalls on the terrain are resolved using walls of stone from the area. Other lighter elements are built from poured concrete or brick to divide spaces, and glass paneling is placed where the views so require. The flooring is a lightened concrete system over steel and wooden beams.
The relation of the different spaces to the sometimes very massive terrain, as well as the views they provide (seeking transparency most of the time), give the 8,295 square foot (780 square meters) project a complex interplay of weight and levity.
Photos: Yoshihiro Koitani