Villas by the Cliff
Overlooking the bay of Puerto Escondido in Mexico is a villa designed by Mexican firm Francisco Pardo Arquitecto that makes perfect use of its scenic location and breathtaking views.
The Villas Escondida is located 50 meters from the Pacific Ocean, on a cliff-top overlooking the bay of Puerto Escondido (“Hidden Port”), in Mexico. Renowned for its wild and endless beaches, the area is one of the most revered tourist attractions on the Oaxacan Coast, welcoming surfers from all over the world, and attracting a more low-key and eclectic clientele.
Nestled in the vegetation, this house respects the environment by mirroring the slope of the site with its 20° to 40° incline, through a sequence of stepping, rotation, and intermediate patios. A standard replicable pattern is established, enabling 180° views and plenty of natural light and ventilation in each unit, thanks to a complex and alternating layout that offers residents a unique experience.
“This housing arrangement naturally adapts to the existing topography. The villas seek to generate a harmonic symbiosis between architecture, the Pacific Ocean, and the inhabitants, enhanced by panoramic views of the surroundings,” says Francisco Pardo, founder of the studio.
The complex comprises of 16 residences of 150 sqm and an additional terrace, measuring 70 sqm on the lower level. Despite the high-density on-site, the apartments, embedded into the hillside in various ways, feel more like villas than apartments.
Each unit consists of two or three bedrooms, an open-plan living and dining room, and a private terrace – which frames the idyllic scenery and the sea-horizon while guaranteeing maximum privacy through the extensive plants strategically placed around its perimeters.
Each apartment has a small private swimming pool, and common areas on the uppermost rooftops: to the East (the highest), a bar and rest area; in the center, the main swimming pool with a sundeck; and to the West, a smaller pool for children.
The apartments are accessed through a system of natural pathways and two gardens that replicate the natural slope of the terrain and stretch down to the sea. The ocean breeze, in synergy with the shade provided by cantilevered roofs and the cross ventilation generated by the terrace and the lateral walls, provides passive cooling options.
Inside, the units offer a comfortable place to relax and take refuge from the sun. Natural-toned wood wraps the tailored-made interiors, adding visual warmth and reinforcing the connection to the natural context.
Villas Escondida is built in reinforced concrete, block walls, cement, sand, and ribbed slabs. This system has permitted flexible construction and a solid structure, resistant to the characteristic earthquakes that affect the area. The main finishing details of the external facades and the interiors are made with Chukun, flattened with fine sand cement and the suggestive local “Macuil” wood.
Rather than trespassing on the landscape, the project slopes down toward the beach to catch the ocean’s breeze, integrating into the site, emphasizing the connection to the natural forces.
Project: Villas Escondida
Architect: Francisco Pardo Arquitecto
Developer: Gumaro Lizárraga, Grupo GLM
Design team: Wilfrido Estrada (project leader), Rosa Medrano, Karen Burkart, Víctor Cruz, Iván Saucedo, Vania Torres, Tiberio Wallentin
Location: Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, México
GFA: 8,310 sqm
Interior design: La Metropolitana, Década Muebles
Construction and fixed furniture: Alfonso Suarez, Factotum Arquitectura
Photography: ©Onnis Luque, ©Mauricio Guerrero