Casa encinos

Estudio Ome presents the “Casa encinos” project; a house surrounded by large oak trees which give its name and were the inspiration for the entire project.

Casa Encinos is located two hours away from Mexico City in Valle de Bravo, a region known for its lake and cool climate where oak and pine trees forests grow. The 0.9 hectare site has beautiful oak tres that give it its name and where an elevated house would be built.

The first observation was the majestic presence of the oak tres, Quercus laurina, as a pilar for the balance and diversity of the ecosystem. Their branches are the habitat for ferns, orchids, bromeliads and their fallen leaves nourish the soil allowing other species to grow under their light foliage. How to learn from the forest and how to inhabit it?

Bridge and wooden steps
Photography: Alex Raduan 

Fallen massive pine trees from the site became the prime material for the hardscape. We were able to transform the wood directly on-site and create simple elements for wayfinding such as steps, bridges and retaining walls to create terraces.

Meandering paths with a gentle slope to reach the house by car or by foot were drawn in between the existing trees. The compacted soil paths are permeable so that the water infiltrates into the ground and are followed by a ditch that leads the excess of runoff water towards a stream.

The elevated house is surrounded by a lush garden where elderflowers, Sambucus canadensis, and passifloras reach the height of the terrace and invade the structure. Agaves and ferns complete the planting design to catch the gaze.

Photography: Alex Raduan 

A collection of clay pots for each terrace was planted with Japanese and Mexican forest species inspired by the woodland atmosphere, such as oak trees (Quercus laurina), Heavenly bamboo Nandina (Nandina domestica) and native underwood agaves. A second terrace near the kitchen enjoys the herb plants and fruits trees.

The site benefits from an intermittent stream where a series of water retaining walls and a circular pool were built with gabions and stone walls to allow rainwater to infiltrate into the ground, while its volatile presence can be enjoyed.

Lush garden Fotografía
Photography: Alex Raduan