Minimal, Eco-Friendly Family Living

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The Residencia El Coto is a Mexican feat of architecture that surprises us in a number of ways. The first impression of the home is one of pure minimalism. The strong, bold lines of the structure meet in an angular façade. The colour palette is natural, with the top level heavier in tone than the lower. The use of concrete and geometric elements, places the building well within the realm of the modern.

Excellence in Design are architects based in Zapopan, Mexico. With a commitment to sustainable design balanced with modern aesthetics, the firm had high expectations to uphold. We don’t know about you, but we think these architects certainly rose to the challenge in the project we are investigating today.

Want to see how Excellence in Design achieve their philosophy in practice? Well, you came to the right place…

Minimalism at a glance

Before undertaking the building of the house, the project was planned virtually for later construction. This allowed for the architects to model the structure and its elements in various conditions, including the changing of seasons. The result is a house optimal design for the best effect in each season and circumstance. 

The front of the house, seen here from the right angle, the house looks like the epitome of modern architecture and contemporary design. The bold angles of the structure meet in contemporary minimalist design, keeping the design to the bare basics and style. 

Materials we see used here in the façade are also coveted in modern architecture, both for its aesthetic value and for durability. Concrete, wood, metal and glass are combined to deliver an ensemble worthy of highest praise.

Environment first

Besides the Residencia El Coto's strong commitment to a minimalist ethic, it was primarily a sustainable and ecologically-friendly endeavour.  The roof of the home houses several photovoltaic solar panels, the ridge of which we can just see peering over the edge of the rooftop in this image. This provides most of the home's energy consumption needs, and is, of course, a much more environmentally-friendly alternative to our traditional reliance on coal and natural gas for electricity. There are also separate solar water heaters, to ensure that the swimming pool is at optimal temperature without being wasteful.

Although solar panels are becoming increasingly popular and prevalent in modern architecture, this house has another sustainability solution which is less common for residences: it's own waste water treatment plant! What this means is that not only can used water from the house be reused for gardening, but that this waste water can also be treated and purified for consumption. This home nearly sustains itself!

Grand interior spaces

The architects aimed (and succeeded) to create large, intertwined space in the interior of the home, without having to sacrifice the intimacy of each area. Here we find ourselves in the entrance hall of the house, facing a magnificent, yet simple, staircase and its accompanying features. Above it, we can see the walkway on the upper level - exposed except for transparent glass balustrades. This demonstrates the integration of the different spaces whilst still demarcating each. 

The straight staircase itself displays the approach of incorporating the different spaces with one another. Its form allows for no visual division between the different levels of the home, as opposed to other staircase shapes, such as half-landing, spiral, or quarter-landing staircases. 

Natural stone is used in this area to add visual weight and beauty to this otherwise minimally ornamented space.

Texture and light

LED light bulbs had been fitted to all of the lighting fixtures in the house, augmenting the home's commitment to being kind to the earth and decrease energy consumption. As we all know, LED lights consume only a fraction of the energy used by conventional incandescent light bulbs, and are therefore much more energy-efficient. 

Mostly, people's greatest reservation regarding LED lights are that they seem cold, impersonal and sterile. The light from incandescent light bulbs seem to be much warmer and comforting. This does not have to be the case. Take, for example, the living room of the Residencia El Coto. Does it look cold and clinical to you? We don't think so. It's all about clever and thoughtful design, which was clearly a priority in this project. Using natural materials (such as the wooden flooring), neutral colours (the beige sofa), and soft textures (on the back wall), the LED light seems to complement the space and is not overwhelming.

Nature as focus

As we have already mentioned, one of the main purposes of the house is to be ecologically-friendly and sustainable. This tells us that nature plays a large role in the project, if not for its aesthetic influence, certainly for its well-being. 

It is highly appropriate then, that the spaces of the home flow into and integrates with the natural spaces of the outdoors. We can see this best on the lower floor, where glass doors open up an entire wall to the outside.

The team at Excellence in Design wanted this home to be one that lets in abundant natural light. The exterior images of the house clearly displayed this with the multitude of windows, and here we can see it again from the inside.

Luxury in the bathroom

A big challenge with minimalist design is often achieving a sense of luxury without violating the ethic of simplicity or jeopardising a project's streamlined design. The designers behind the Residencia El Coto are experienced in contemporary homes, though, and in this bathroom we can see how they overcame the challenge in question. 

The basics are simple enough: neutral colours with tonal variation, minimal ornamentation, and clear spaces. The element of luxury, however, is achieved through the addition of world-class accessories. Only the finest crafted lighting fixtures, taps and stoneware had been used for this area, creating a rich sense of luxury without impeding the minimal character of the home. Regardless of stylistic persuasions, who doesn't want a luxurious bathroom?

If you were inspired by this home's minimal character and spaces, why not brush up on what minimalism entails? See: Your handy guide to minimalism.

Would you like to live in a nearly self-sustaining home such as this? Would being eco friendly be a primary concern for you when building a new hom...
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