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Ludwig Godefroy’s Iconic Casa Mérida Is A Brutalist And Geometric Haven In Mexico

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In Mérida, the capital city of the east coast state of Mexico’s Yucatán, architect Ludwig Godefroy has balanced contemporary and traditional architecture together in the design of ‘Casa Mérida’; a contemporary concrete house that references sacred Mayan roads.

The French-born, Mexico City based architect sought to reference designs created by the indigenous Mayan community throughout the project. He asked: “How is it possible to build architecture that reflects and considers the Yucatán identity, to make this house belong to its territory? In other words, how could this house be Mayan?”. To address these questions, Godefroy modeled the home after a Sacbe, a paved road system that was used in ancient times to connect the different communities of a Mayan city. Bolstering this concept was the unusual proportions of the site, which spans a staggering 80 meters long, but measures just eight meters in width, like “a big lane.”

The next concern took the project towards the concept of self-sufficiency, where an emphasis on shaded outdoor areas dispersed throughout the site would naturally ventilate the house—discouraging the overuse of air conditioning and thus preventing energy waste. This also follows the traditional Mayan architectural style created to respond to the climate of the Yucatán; its rainy season, humidity, and high temperatures. Architectural highlights include the monolithic concrete steps reminiscent of ancient Aztec temples, a swimming pool with a cantilevered diving platform, and rich wooden louvres on the windows and the doors.

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All images © Rory Gardiner