Estudio ALA recently completed a small development in Baja California Sur with an overarching goal of reintroducing local culture into the architecture, building process and visitor experience.

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An aerial view of several palm-roof structures.

The project is called El Perdido, and it’s a collection of hut-like accommodations that make up a desert tourism destination. Rather than importing most materials and ignoring the environment, El Perdido pays special attention to local tradition and the project’s impact.

Related: Mexico City oasis features terrace gardens on every floor

Shrubs in front of a building.

El Perdido is located in the small agricultural town of El Pescadero, which is rich in plantations of basil, chili, tomatoes and strawberries. To honor these historical roots while minimizing the need for resources like water, the design team left the surrounding landscape natural, with expansive low natural shrubs and plants. Near the entrance, a grove of palo blanco trees provide natural shading, too.

A structure with a slanted roof and greenery in front of it.

The huts were developed with attention to the natural climate of the region, providing guest comfort through passive design for effective heating and cooling. “Temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind, and solar incidence on the site were taken into consideration to employ strategies of passive cooling during the summer and passive heating in the winter,” the team said. The site was also equipped with its own water treatment plant and a saltwater pool with saline chlorinators to reduce chemical use and improve water efficiency. 

A bright indoor/outdoor area with white couches and chairs.

The accommodations are built with earthen walls, and wood is the primary support material for each structure. The palm roofs add to the authentic appeal and overall nod to Baja California Sur’s heritage. Materials were sourced regionally, minimizing the need for lengthy transport, and local artisans were hired for the build.  

A living area with a beige chair and brown cabinet.

The campus includes a main guest house, which includes a living area, dining room, kitchen bar for visitors, multipurpose area, store with local products, and reception. This is a gathering area and main hub of the property. Also on site is a restaurant and bar. Walkways lead throughout the campus to the lodgings and a sunken courtyard with low walls made from natural materials. In the courtyard, visitors can find a fountain and chapel. A stroll further along the walkway leads to an observatory with expansive ocean views. 

A wood, spiral staircase structure outside.

At the center of the property is a shared pool in a courtyard that connects to the villas and main house. Each villa was designed to maximize efficiency and invite a marriage between the indoors and outdoors.

+ Estudio ALA 

Via ArchDaily

Images via Iwan Baan