Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Casa Tiny, a Walden-Inspired Getaway in Mexico

Search

Casa Tiny, a Walden-Inspired Getaway in Mexico

March 14, 2017

Inspired by Thoreau’s Walden, Casa Tiny is a minimalist hideaway constructed of concrete and parota wood (did we mention that it’s available on Airbnb for $82 a night?). We were intrigued, so we did some sleuthing and tracked down the unidentified designer. Last week, I met with 27-year-old architect Aranza de Ariño at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where she’s currently getting a degree in architecture and urban design. At her desk surrounded by fellow students prepping for midterm reviews, she filled me in on the story behind her first commission.

Photography by Camila Cossio, courtesy of Casa Tiny.

completely secluded in nature, the house—which has been described as &#8\ 9
Above: Completely secluded in nature, the house—which has been described as “a concrete tent”—is accessed via a sandy footpath. A west-facing lap pool and terrace lead to the front door.

The casita was commissioned by a friend of Aranza’s, Mexico City–based film and theater producer Claudio Sodi, when she was 25 and finishing up her architecture degree at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. “The beach is only 200 meters away, but we liked the idea of a making it a house you discover in the middle of green vegetation,” Aranza explained. “You can hear the waves, but what you see are trees, plants, and the Sierra Mountains in the distance. It’s about connecting to the outdoors.”

&#8\2\20;i really wanted to use as few materials as possible and push to se 10
Above: “I really wanted to use as few materials as possible and push to see what I could produce,” Aranza told me. “Parota is a local wood and concrete is part of the local building expertise. Our crew knew how to use it, but the gabled roof was a new challenge; they hadn’t cast a slanted roof in one piece before.”

There’s no glass or screens on the louvered openings. And to further compel occupants to commune with the surroundings, a cast concrete table extends from indoors to out.

notches in the parota doors enable them to fit perfectly around the table. 11
Above: Notches in the parota doors enable them to fit perfectly around the table.

Construction costs, Aranza says, came to approximately $45,000, including “the pool, terraces, access road, and all the installations (such as water, electric, sewage, cistern, and passive solar heaters for the water in the bathroom and kitchen).” Aranza hired her crew using members of the team that built the nearby Casa Wabi, a Tadao Ando-designed artist’s retreat and foundation established by Claudio’s brother, painter Bosco Sodi (tours arranged on request for Casa Tiny guests).

the 5.4 meter (approximately \18 foot) table stretches nearly all the way to th 12
Above: The 5.4-meter (approximately 18-foot) table stretches nearly all the way to the concrete stairs that lead to the mezzanine bedroom. The bathroom is located behind the stairs and can also be accessed from outside.
the doors on the other side of the house open to a terrace with a hammock. aran 13
Above: The doors on the other side of the house open to a terrace with a hammock. Aranza cleverly detailed the table to function as a compact kitchen with integrated concrete sink. The faucet is from Mexican brand Urrea Group.

Aranza explains that the circle pattern on the walls is from the in-situ casting: “It’s through those circles that the wooden ‘mold’ is tied together to make it possible to pour in the concrete.”

an open pantry and mini fridge with wood paneled door are tucked under the stai 14
Above: An open pantry and mini fridge with wood-paneled door are tucked under the stairs. Shelves under the table hold plates and cookware. In addition to the cooktop, there’s a brick pizza oven.
the sculptural stairs have what aranza describes as &#8\2\20;alternating tr 15
Above: The sculptural stairs have what Aranza describes as “alternating treads. They’re more compact this way and because of the wider gaps, they’re really comfortable to sit on.”
the house sleeps two and rents for \$8\2 a night on airbnb (\18 percent weekly  16
Above: The house sleeps two and rents for $82 a night on Airbnb (18 percent weekly discount and 34 percent monthly discount).

The bed rests on a wooden platform and is flanked by brass sconces Aranza made herself from hardware and metal store parts. “I bent the arms myself in a metal shop.” Guests fall asleep to the sounds of the desert and wake up to birdsong. Those bothered by heat and wandering lizards and insects could stay away; this is an experience for design-loving naturalists.

the all concrete bathroom can be accessed from within the house and from its o 17
Above: The all-concrete bathroom can be accessed from within the house and from its own outside entrance—”if you open the door,” says Aranza, “from the shower, all you see is green.” There’s also an outdoor shower.
 the house faces the pacific; the back, shown here, is lined up with the talle 18
Above: The house faces the Pacific; the back, shown here, is lined up with the tallest tree.

“The tree behind the house faces north; the long table is oriented south toward the beach, and the pool and main door are on the west side,” explains Aranza. “The house is aligned north-south with the dominant winds, so that they flow through it, cooling it down.

aranza de ariño&#8\2\17;s drawing details the siting and various elevatio 19
Above: Aranza de Ariño’s drawing details the siting and various elevations of the house. Guests leave their cars on the main road, and near the head of the footpath is a terrace for yoga and lounging.

Casa Tiny is located in sleepy Punta Altares, 30 minutes down the coast from the surf town of Puerto Escondido (the place to rent a car and stock up on supplies). Hotel Escondido, A Hidden Beach Hotel in Oaxaca, is near the casita and has a lively restaurant and bar.

For more getaway destinations, see 7 Favorite Design Hotels in Mexico.

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0