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CLACLÁ Taller de arquitectura

Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico

October 2022


Claudia Turrent (Architect Designer.), Axel De La Torre (Architect Designer.)



Guillermo Mondragon


Francisca D'Acosta


The challenge for CLACLÁ, lies in deciding how to intervene in this pristine environment. Acknowledging the lasting impact of our actions on subsequent interventions, we opted to excavate 2/3 of the house into the mountain's slope, thereby reducing the permanent built impact on the hill. Despite the initial invasiveness of construction, our vision includes green roofs flourishing over time, concealing an important part of the building and harmonizing it with the natural topography.
Burnish concrete, selected for its supportive role and cost efficiency, mimics polished granite through a vapor barrier liner during formwork. Wood reclaimed from the formwork becomes the primary material for various furniture and structural elements, reducing waste in the construction and resulting in expressive elements that seem to have soul.
The underground levels serve as structural concrete cells supporting the main public space. This communal area, partially covered with a light wooden structure resembling a whale skeleton, functions as a vibrant space for diverse activities, featuring an open terrace with panoramic views.
Bedrooms and the bungalow, find their place within the mountain, offering shelter from extreme desert temperatures. Passive ventilation, facilitated by buried pipes and high ceiling outlets, ensures airflow in summer. Integral to our approach is water treatment, ensuring sufficient water for garden irrigation and domestic use. This commitment reflects CLACLÁ's comprehensive approach to architecture, interweaving sustainability, landscape preservation, and functionality in a harmonious design.


Located in Mexico's wine country, Ensenada, Baja California, within an agricultural housing development, "Cuatro Cuatros" stands as a sophisticated 1000-unit project nestled in a 2200-acre property that seamlessly connects the wine country to the Pacific Ocean. Because of its location, favorable climate, and lifestyle, Ensenada has recently emerged as a sought-after destination.

This project holds the distinction of being the inaugural structure within the development. The proximity of future neighboring projects is inevitable, given the way the land was subdivided. The native vegetation, though not high enough to scale the construction, precluded the option of planting tall trees due to the high fire risk in the area. Situated on an east-oriented lot, in close proximity to the main road and the project's winery, it faces challenges such as noise and visual exposure compromising its privacy. Located on a 30º slope with the road access on the lower end, forced the design to ascend in four levels to optimize the breathtaking view.


During construction, we faced significant criticism due to the excavation's substantial impact on the entrance of the development. Visitors held us accountable for what seemed like the destruction of the hill. Two years later, the wound had nearly healed, and annually, the house seamlessly integrates more with the landscape.

Burnished concrete, being maintenance-free, has proven to be a triumph for the house rental operation. Despite the controversies surrounding assuming responsibility for burying the construction and managing the house's water, both decisions have not only been accepted but also endorsed by the development team.

While the propagation of native plants proved challenging, water availability emerged as the key to success. Encouraging clients to treat their water posed difficulties, especially in altering their habits of using conventional chemicals for cleaning, which harm the system's digesters. Any disruption leads to fish fatalities and unpleasant odors. As a result, the use of chlorine, fabric softeners, muriatic acid, and drain cleaners is strictly prohibited.

Remarkably, this house boasts high energy efficiency.

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