Mérida architects Salvador Reyes Ríos and Josefina Larraín blend California cool and Yucatan’s legacy in Architectural Digest Mexico’s May 2015 edition.

The house, in Itzimná, is far from the type of renovation that put Reyes Ríos + Larraín on the cover of Hacienda Style. This house is completely new. Only the large trees on the corner property were kept; everything else was a blank slate.

Their objectives were to build a transparent house filled with light. As you move from the front to the rear of the house, garden and outdoor spaces are gradually revealed until, finally, an informal terrace and a sleek, modern swimming pool. The smart, easygoing interior furnishings were also chosen, or in some cases designed, by Josefina Larraín, who also supplied landscaping and garden designs.

A chukum pool off the terrace invites guests to take a plunge. Photo: Pim Schalkwijk
A chukum pool off the terrace invites guests to take a plunge. Photo: Pim Schalkwijk

Materials were carefully selected for their insulating properties, and the spaces were designed to promote ventilation and natural light. Sliding metal/bamboo panels hold back or invite the sun. Walls are finished with stucco mixed with chukum-tree resin using an ancient Mayan technique plasma rediscovered and reinvented by Salvador Reyes in 1996. Luminescent chukum finishes were used by the Mayans to repel water, or in the case of wells, to contain it.

The Itzimná house was inspired by mid-century architects Craig Ellwood and Pierre Koenig, but the architectural and cultural legacy of Yucatán, and the reality of living here, was never left behind.


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