What's of the Earth is the greatest worth! Mexico's Tatiana Bilbao's amazing Ajijic House takes affordable and sustainable design one step further by using rammed earth as the principal building material. The family's modest budget led the resourceful architect to build with this locally-sourced material, providing the family home with energy efficiency as well as a strong and literal connection to the environment. The home is located in the Mexican state of Jalisco.
Inspired by the affordability of the material, Bilbao decided to build the walls using rammed earth in order to provide the home with optimal temperature control through its thermal mass properties. In addition to its sustainability aspects, rammed earth also gives the home a unique aesthetic. The earthen walls have a distinctive layered effect on the exterior, created by adding pigment to the rammed earth. According to the architect, using the sustainable material meant many cost-saving advantages, “We designed the building in response to the material’s structural properties. In this way, we could meet the budget because we didn’t need to add an extra structure, an extra finish or extra insulation.”
Built on the shore of Lake Chapala, the angular cube design of the Ajijic house offers sublime views of the surrounding nature thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows and two large open terraces that face the lake from either wing of the home. Additional affordable locally-sourced materials such as end-grain tiles of Mexican pine wood were installed as flooring and used in various places throughout the interior to save on building material costs.
Photography by Iwan Baan