Paul Cremoux Studio is an architectural design firm based in Mexico, committed to producing sustainable eco-efficient architecture. Their goal is to create designs that enrich the environment, celebrate life and magnify the human spirit.
Concerned about the lack of sustainable construction in his home country, Paul Cremoux and his team have designed several projects that explore everyday living without traditional restrictions, in an ongoing engagement between interiors and exteriors.
One of their projects, Casa Caracola [translated as The Shell House] is located at Tres Vidas Golf Course along Mexico's Pacific Coast, and is testament to their environmentally sound ethics. Built in 2010, Casa Caracola is based around the stacking of four exposed concrete masses, the home features an open-air courtyard at the heart of the build that bonds each form. Every part of the home beautifully exhibits slightly varying relationships and characteristics to the paradise-like site, featuring wrapping verandas, decks and full glass walls.
Visitors enter via the ground level which contains a small patio, two guest rooms, swimming pool and library. The pool is distinguished as a mat of water that appears to flush with soil as if a mirror that blends seamlessly with the golf course terrain.
Continuing to the second floor, which incorporates the living, kitchen and dining rooms, an additional guest room and the master suite. The latter presents itself as its own structure by being supported on two walls, that go on to present a vast exterior deck. A structural concrete pipe is supported at two points by two rectangular walls that functions as a pipeline to create natural ventilation airflow for the rooms. Making shadow areas and cross ventilation is of paramount importance to respond to the extreme heat and humid conditions of the seashore.
On one of Mexico's most sought-after golf courses, the property sits as a hidden gem within the course itself. Relying wholly on the overall landscape strategy, there is no physical barrier or border separating the private from the public. The placing of vegetation on tranverse grid lines allows the home to be at one with nature without essentially being visible, creating a feeling of grandeur and spaciousness at the same time.
Next up is Casa CorManca which demonstrates a building that utlises plants to moderate its own internal temperature, while providing inhabitants with an indoor garden. Paul Cremoux's project responds to the need to introduce maximum natural light to the 39ft by 42ft site that is surrounded by high neighbouring walls and general city constrictions.
The contrast between the exterior's black, slade stone material and internal soft, beech wood finish immediately transforms the spatial experience of the house. Where the front exterior appears as if a simple slate-covered box, the back reveals beautiful light-filled layers of both indoor and outdoor spaces, with the added benefit of a vertical garden wall.
The structure is split over three floors with the main outdoor terrace set on the second floor. The open-plan terrace, located central to the build, is a vital social area for the house. The space further allows light to flood the house, all the while providing residents with a sense of privacy even when outside. The undoubted focus is the vertical vegetation garden that acts as a feast for the eyes while also a natural source of heat that warms up the slate and wood-clad walls of the exterior. The wall, with over 4,000 plants, enhances air quality and increases humidity.
"Making sustainable eco-effective design in Mexico is pretty hard. Many clients do not yet realise the importance of changing the design strategy," says architect Paul Cremoux. He explains: "We would like to think about vegetation not only as a practical temperature-humidity comfort control device, or as a beautiful energetic view, but also as an element that acts like a light curtain."
Further showing his environmentally aware prowess, Paul and his team introduced recyclable materials, low VOC paint, filtered-water systems, and three heat-exhaustion chimneys to control the near-tropical temperatures in the bedroom areas. Cross ventilation and passive energy/temperature control strategies were also built into the design.
In terms of the interior, natural materials were brought in so to create a synergy with the outside; notably the triple-height slate wall in the living area. An open staircase set against a second slate wall appears almost sculptural as it floats between floors, connecting the interior spaces. A driveway for two cars is located beneath the terrace and leads through to the dining and kitchen areas. A living room and three bedrooms occupy the second floor and can be accessed via a staircase tucked away in the corner.
Watch Paul Cremoux's film of Casa Cormanca on Vimeo here.
Paul Cremoux Studio's work has been exhibited at various establishments including [MAM] Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City and at RIBA [Royal Institute of British Architecture], they are winners of several national and international awards, and their projects have been published in several books on architecture and design, magazines, websites, blogs, newspapers and television interviews.
Paul Cremoux Studio, Cerrada De Trini 2703-4, San Jerónimo Lídice, 10200 Ciudad de México, Mexico; paulcremoux.com