skip to main content

Biophilic travels: a respectful retreat nestled in the landscape

in biophilic travels

Respecting nature and celebrating local specificities are guiding principles of a biophilic approach to design.

In this episode of Biophilic Travels, a house that aims at being a comfortable retreat for people as well as a respectful integration to the landscape…

all-year outdoor life

Rain Harvest Home encourages outdoor time through design.

The house is raised on a platform where interiors and outdoor spaces flow seamlessly. Only a third of the total surface is indoor space; the rest is covered outdoor space that runs along all sides of the building. The indoor-outdoor layout is an invitation to enjoy the mild local climate all year round, be exposed to nature’s cycles, and observe changing weather conditions from a sheltered place.

The outdoor of the house, hit by a beautiful morning light.
Credit: JSa Arquitectura, Robert Hutchison Architecture

comforting and connected

The interior receives abundant natural light through ceiling skylights and full-height windows that disappear when open, blurring the lines between indoors and outdoors. Materials echo each other, restating the feeling of one cohesive indoor-outdoor space. The house is at the same time an intimate alcove and a vantage point to admire the surroundings. An introspective space that doesn’t forget its belonging to place.

In the words of the architects, this home is a cabane that embodies “the human dimension of the home: you go to sleep in small-scale, comfortable and inviting spaces. Then, the home opens up, allowing you to enjoy the surroundings.” Cit. Javier Sánchez - JSa Arquitectura

respectful connection to place

Materials give soul and authenticity to the design, in a combination of local stone, warm-toned wood for the interiors and black-tinted wood for the outdoor cladding – a choice that is motivated by the willingness to blend seamlessly and respectfully with the landscape. In the words of the architects: “black tinted wood helps homes retreat in themselves to then take root in the landscape.” Cit. Javier Sánchez - JSa Arquitectura

Rain Harvest Home is located in the middle of a Mexican natural reserve. Respecting the delicate surroundings, the building is entirely off-the-grid, powered by solar panels, and wise in its use of water – an increasingly scarse resource. A considerate approach that doubles as a feature, shaping a water-based experience for guests. Rainwater is collected and treated on-site to serve all domestic needs. Besides, a round bathhouse offers four different activities – hot bath, sauna, steam shower, washroom – for people to connect to the water element.

Outdoor view of the house.
Credit: JSa Arquitectura, Robert Hutchison Architecture

As a whole, this project is directed to people as much as it is directed to nature. It is a comfortable retreat that rediscovers a slow-paced lifestyle, a designed space that’s exposed to nature and aware of its dependence on natural resources, a building that respects its surroundings by disguising itself in the vegetation and integrating into the local climate with care and consideration.

Biophilic design resources by anooi:
A Biophilic YearApplying Biophilic DesignVisual Library of Biophilic Design