Zen in Zihuatanejo
Overlooking a tranquil stretch of sand on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, this beachouse comes with balance built in.
Waves break on the beach nearby as a breeze cools the open meditation space. It’s an astonishing feat of architecture when a structure is built not to shelter from the surrounding nature, but rather to accentuate it. This beach house in Zihuatanejo, on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, embodies tranquility and purposeful harmony with its natural surroundings.
The meditation room is intended “to respond to a superior need: the holistic quest of full communion and interaction with the enveloping and traversing nature,” says an architect from Colectivo Lateral de Arquitectura, the firm that designed the house. The location was carefully selected, as Zihuatanejo is surrounded by lush tropical jungles, mangroves, and lagoons. The tropical ecosystem needs thoughtful neighbours that build in partnership with the landscape so as not to disturb flora and fauna.
Aesthetically, the design emphasizes what isn’t there, instead of what is. A central courtyard is open to the sky, and giant circles are carved in the ceiling and wall of the meditation room.
“The circle is often used to represent the universe, circle of life, and patterns of nature, which we wanted to portray as one of the principal design elements in the house,” the architect says.
To connect the house with the element of water, there’s more than just a pool out back. There’s a network of channels that surround the beach house, flowing through it in beautiful lines that accentuate the interior and exterior space and further blur the border between indoors and out.
The swimming lane is used for exercise, to cleanse before meditation, and for recreation. A plunge pool creates a focal point for outdoor seating and reflects the magnificent sunsets.
A garden weaves through the property and expands into the surrounding landscape. In enclosed spaces, potted plants serve as green accents. “At times, it’s possible to contemplate the garden, the sea, and even some plays of shadows produced by the gray concrete and the red tepetate in complicity with the light,” the architect tells us.
The design of the build is Modern and eco-conscious, utilizing materials such as tepetate, a locally sourced reddish clay that gives the walls a neutral pastel hue when mixed with concrete. Floor-to-ceiling windows, dark wood, and grey concrete make up the balance of materials used.
At the centre of the home’s intricate layout sits the grassy courtyard. An open plan branches out from there, connecting the dining room, living room, and kitchen. Two bedrooms are secluded and connected by a breezeway, and steps lead up to a rooftop deck that capitalizes on the open air to provide serene views of the surrounding nature.
The minimal construction and limited use of walls and ceilings allow the dweller to remain connected with the sea, jungle, and mountains, even while resting inside. It is here that one can focus on the spiritual component of this connection and the relationship between mind, body, and the world that both surrounds us and flows through us.