Gallery: Casa Gavion Uses a Breathing Gabion Wall To Keep Cool in Baja,...

Collectivo Mx designed and built this fascinating geometric home in Baja Mexico, where the sun shines almost every day of the year. Inspired by the architecture of Luis Barragán who believes in "emotional architecture", Collectivo Mx wanted to evoke his style through the use of sensuous aesthetics, vivid colors, and attention to spaces and light - all while accentuating the building’s natural surroundings. With summer temps lasting almost all-year-long, a big concern was keeping the house cool without the use of air conditioning - so the architects employed gabion baskets to create a "breathing" wall that shields the home from the sun while allowing breezes in through the gaps. In addition to the use of regional materials and local labor, Casa Gavion also makes use of high-performance insulation, solar power, and grey water recycling.

Casa Gavion by Collectivo Mx is a private eco home in Baja, Mexico that makes use of passive design, regional materials and emotional architecture. Luis Barragán, who is considered to have reinvented Mexican modern architecture, said “I believe in emotional architecture,” and this was what Collectivo Mx was trying to evoke through the Casa Gavion. Their use of massive proportions, volumes, forms, textures and colors was all aimed to move feelings and emotions. The studio designed the home so that each room had access to the outdoors and windows slide open to connect with terraces and courtyards. A rock tower climbs above the home to enjoy 360 degree views of the Sea of Cortez, the surrounding landscape and the adjacent golf course.

The home features no air conditioning and all cooling is provided via passive means. Gabions, which are normally seen along highways as retaining walls, are reinvented here as a shade screen and shield the home from the intense sun, but allow air to move through the space. Thick insulation on the roof protects the home from overheating, while natural ventilation and cross breezes keep it cool. Regional materials and local labor were used to build the home, which was also designed for durability and low maintenance. In addition the home also features a solar energy system, a grey water system, and an ingenious pool design which integrates a dipping pool, a swimming pool and a jacuzzi reduces the water consumption generally used in homes with pools.

+ Collectivo Mx

Via Design Milk

Images ©LA76


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1 Comment

  1. r_krebs March 30, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Bridgette Meinhold, what an interesting and beautiful home! We want to know what “thick” insulation was used on the roof, probably a rigid plastic foam? I notice that they have inclulded insulation as one of the main features used to help keep the home cool. Wish you explained how the gambion wall was treated to prevent even occasional rain from seeping into the building. Is there difficulty with moisture remaining inside the wall over time? Only real Life Cycle Assessment (see ) will tell if the building performs more energy efficiently than similar structures.

    Rob Krebs
    American Chemistry Council

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