Casa Mérida is a modern interpretation of Mexican Maya culture. The Yucatan region, where we find this house, distinguishes itself both geologically and culturally from the rest of the country and architect Ludwig Godefroy was inspired by it for his design.
Located in the historic center of the city of Mérida, known as the capital of Mayan culture in Mexico, Casa Mérida explores the relationship between contemporary and traditional architecture. Ludwig Godefroy retained, for example, the entire length of the site, some 80 meters, for an almost endless view along the entire property from the entrance to the swimming pool. The Mayan people also often laid their cities with long, stone paths connecting different buildings and important locations. Another way in which Mérida is such a special place is the microclimate, with warm weather and high humidity almost all year round. For a long time this influenced the architecture in the region, which was characterized by high ceilings and several patios that allow air and wind to flow throughout the house. This natural ventilation was made unnecessary by the invention of air conditioning, but Godefroy went looking for a way to make this new home more compatible with the original identity of the area. What's more, the result blurs the boundary between inside and outside. The residents don't feel enclosed at all, but still enjoy a high level of tranquillity and privacy which is not always possible when living so close to the city centre.
A residence as independent as possible from modern technologies.
The architect himself went a step further and looked for solutions to make the house as independent as possible from modern technologies and therefore more energy efficient. Thanks to the architectural design, the use of air conditioning can be reduced and rainwater is also ingeniously recovered by sculptural water collectors and absorption wells. Waste water also passes through a special filter so that it can be reused for watering the garden, for example. A solar boiler and solar panels are also a logical completion of the design. Moreover, about 90% of Casa Mérida is made on site, with local materials (including Mayan creme stone) and by masons and carpenters from Yucatan.
The design will only become more interesting over the years.
All attention in Casa Mérida goes to the special architecture and layout, the pure structure without unnecessary decoration. This makes the house even more in keeping with the local culture and history of the location. The materials do not require any special maintenance. Architect Ludwig Godefroy sees ageing time as part of the architectural process and his design will only become more interesting over the years thanks to its natural patina. Photography by Rory Gardiner