Recreo House: Rethinking the Possibilities of a Patio

Fernanda Canales

Architects: Fernanda Canales
Location: Mexico
Year: 2017
Photography: Rafael Gamo

This house results from rethinking the possibilities of a patio. A central patio becomes the soul of the house and links the main access, service areas, social spaces and bedroom areas; another patio, which faces the forest, connects the bedrooms and studios.

A large terrace allows the social spaces to open up to the landscape, where the living and dining areas have views to both the open surroundings and the central patio.

The layout of the house responds to the orientations: bedrooms to the east and south; the entrance, garage and cellars to the north; and the social areas to the south and west. This allows for part of the house to receive sunlight during the morning (bedrooms and breakfast patio) and the another part of the house to receive sunlight during the afternoon (living room dining room, kitchen and exterior dining area). At night, the immense landscape becomes dark and the whole dwelling opens up towards the patios and terraces.


The bedrooms, placed in an L-shape layout, form an intimate patio on one side and a long volume on the other side, which inserts itself into the wild landscape. The space occupied by the living-dining and kitchen areas generates a terrace where the swimming pool is located and creates a semi-open patio facing south.


The sequence of the different patios and terraces is complemented by the varied rhythm of the rooftops. The inclined roofing is accentuated because the whole house is arranged in a single level, and the height of each space changes according to their hierarchy and orientation. This results in a new landscape echoing the surrounding mountains of Valle de Bravo. The house is built of local materials: gray stone, roof tile and wood, that emphasize the great craftsmanship and hand labor, specially evident in the details of walls, floors and roofs.