In “Nahuatl”, the Uto-Aztec language, Ixtapa means “white sand place”. The house is sited on a private beach on the Pacific coast in north eastern Guerrero state, 250 km above Acapulco. Here maximum water depth is 12/24 meters, ocean currents are moderate and there is a plenty of sea life. The climate is hot and fairly humid; temperatures range from 24°C to 32°C in summer, dropping to 21°C in winter. There are heavy rains in summer (at night) and during part of autumn. The winter is dry with average temperatures around 26°C. The sun shines almost everyday of the year.
Situated as close to the ocean as possible, the building has been designed to meet the different needs of a beach house. Its circular ground plan is typical of many primitive populations throughout the world, a feature that is here highlighted by the use of local building materials.
The architectural project wanted to maintain traditional building features of the area yet at the same time create an innovative building through the use of modern technology. Site orientation was based on the final building plan: the north side of the building is fairly closed while the completely open south, sea-facing side has wide terraces. All around the house, a sweeping garden hosts a large variety of the very diverse vegetation existing at Ixtapa Zihatanejo. The many tropical flower species characteristically conserve their brilliant green colours, even in driest periods.
The house has a concrete skeleton that contains plant and services and supports the roof over the living space. It is divided into two parts: on the ground floor facing the terrace in front of the swimming pool are the kitchen, TV room and main bedroom; on the upper floor, more bedrooms and bathrooms. Technical plants are contained in the spaces between the hardcore structure and the outer skin. Stones, natural colours and the “Palapa” roof – a conventional local roofing material of dried palm leaves - are the main construction materials. The project uses a combination of local craft skills and contemporary imported materials guaranteed resistant to the hot, salt-laden atmosphere.