Mexico City-based architect Ludwig Godefroy designed a brutalist concrete villa called Casa Alferez in the Mexican pine forest.
Completed in 2023 in the Alferes neighborhood, about an hour outside of Mexico City, the house is a simple two-bedroom weekend home with quirky shapes and details.
“The origin of the Alferes House concept comes from the idea of a cabin in the forest and the romantic feeling of a protective shelter in the middle of the forest,” said Godefroy. “I wanted the house to look like a cube smashed into the floor between the trees.”
From the outside, the cube appears impenetrable, a solid plate-like mass with mismatched decorations.
Diagonal walls create a barrier along the entrance walkway in front of the door, and heavy, swooping awnings tower over the corners of the house, while pencil-thin vertical windows and petal-shaped openings punctuate the façade. It’s open.
The house is designed like a vault, isolated from the rest of the world in a secluded forest landscape, where the sense of security and brutal protection afforded by the solidity of concrete protects and cares for its inhabitants. Masu.
The first floor has high windows that prevent views and access from around the first floor of the house. All interior spaces are oriented upwards towards the sky and the tops of the surrounding trees.
The cast-in-place concrete structure playfully balances on the sloping terrain, balancing the weight of the material with the weightlessness of the space.
“The house falls like a precarious box on the natural slope of the land, with the south corner cantilevered and the opposite north corner seemingly sunken,” Godefroy said. said.
Due to the complexity of the terrain, the plan prioritized height over width, choosing a compact stacked footprint of 81 square meters (870 square feet) rather than an expensive and invasive expansive foundation.
Godefroy decided to “extend the height of the house and create a rooftop terrace that is two stories above ground and suspended in the middle of the trees.”
Built over a square plant, the space is made up of “half levels organized around double heights”, giving the interior of the house this cathedral-like feel and balance, with ceilings Light shines everywhere from above through very tall windows and skylights. ,” he continued.
Light diffuses through the concrete walls into the double-height living room, illuminating the windowless space on the ground floor.
Comprised of five half-levels, the rooms function as a series of mezzanines with built-in concrete furniture and wood-finished floors, with a thin outline visible at the end of the stair treads.
The windows are reminiscent of Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier’s Notre-Dame du Haut, with seemingly unrelated shapes and scales that contradict the depth of the concrete mass.
The roof terrace, intended as a morning space, combines a geometric pattern with a round projecting skylight and angled sloped forms that cover the internal staircase.
In 2018, Godefroy built another fortress-like home as a seaside retreat in Oaxaca, and in 2020 he completed a cracked concrete home inspired by the sacred Mayan trails in Mérida, Mexico.
Photographed by Rory Gardiner.