In the forests of Morelia, Mexico, HW Studio’s The Hill in Front of the Glen nestles among the natural environment it is placed in.

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Stone path in a misty forest next to an arched concrete wall covered in grass

A stretch of the landscape is lifted to form a long, gently sloping hill, which are supported by two concrete walls. Two more walls cut through this hill to carve out the path leading guests into the house. From the point of entry into the project, the visitor is cast into a state of solitude and contemplation.  While the path is wide enough for an individual to walk comfortably, it remains narrow enough to limit accompaniment. A large tree cuts through the center of the entry path, thus compelling a slight change in direction and creating a threshold between the exterior and the pearled stone steps leading to the dwelling’s steel entry door.

Related: Akersbakken Bicycle Hotel design blends into the landscape

Person walking between two narrow concrete walls in the forest

Upon entry, the concrete vault supporting the blanket of landscape above creates a dark, cozy cave-like condition, while the interior spatial arrangement guides interactions among inhabitants. To the left of the house, the public areas maximize views and promote extroversion, as the spaces open up towards the lush forest ravine. Conversely, the private spaces are more introverted and self-reflective, with openings to provide natural light from the courtyard and slivered views of the forest canopy and sky.

Dimly lit open plan dining and living space looking to the wooded ravine

The client requested maintaining an aesthetic that is reminiscent of the unrefined beauty of the nearby mountains. It’s achieved by limiting the types of materials used. Concrete is the primary material. It is used to form the structure of the home and mimics the site’s undulating topography. Wood is used for the flooring and furniture to harness a warmth that balances out the concrete and disperses a fresh piney scent. The classy steel details further enhance the project and, like the surroundings, their texture evolves through exposure to the elements.

Bedroom facing a narrow courtyard with high walls

Through the minimalist design and innovative landscaping, the dwelling elegantly blends into the site and becomes part of the surrounding environment, creating a blur between manmade structures and nature.

+HW Studio

Photography by Cesar Bejar and Dane Alonso